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Biggar, Emerson Bristol, 1853- 

Hydro-eloctric development in Ontario; a history of 
water-power administration under the Hydro-electric 
power commission of Ontario, by E. B. Biggar ... To- 
ronto, The Eyerson press ['^1920] 

2 p. I., 3-202 p. front., plates, port., fold, map, diagr. 20i"". 

Bibliography: p. 193-195. 

Another coov in Business. rol920i 

V ' • 

1. Ontario. Hydro-electric power commission. 2 . Water-power electric 
plahts — ^Ontario. i. Title. 

Library of Congress 



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Reproductions may not be made without permission from Coiumbia University Libraries. 



















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School of Business 





Hydro-Electric Development 

in Ontario 





Author of “Canadian Railway Problem/* 
former Editor of Canadian Engineer, etc. 



y'we sa '^tw i .Bi 

Hydro-Electric Development 

in Ontario 




Author of “Canadian Railway Problem/* 
former Editor of Canadian Engineer, etc. 







Copyright, Canada, 1920, 
By E. B. BIGCfAR. 


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The story of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of 
^ Ontario should now be given to the world, if only because it 
J has become the largest generator and distributor of electric 
" energy in existence, and has already accomplished results 
worthy of a province whose hydraulic power resources are in 
some respects unique. To students of public affairs the record 
will be of peculiar value for another reason— that the principles 
upon which it has been evolved mark a new adventure m the 
field of economic legislation and because, among the municipal 
ities comprised in the system, the co-operative plan of public 
ownership was developed in the face of the strongest body of 
private corporation interests ever arrayed against a public 

reform. . . 

No one will claim that the working of the Commission has 

been perfect— if it had attained perfection from the start it 
would have been superhuman— but its achievements cannot now 
be questioned, and they challenge comparison with privately 
owned public-service corporations either on the ground of 
efficiency or econoniy of administration. 

What of the future of the great water powers of Canada? 
What, especially, is to be done with the waters of the Niagara 
and the St. Lawrence? The plea for the preservation of the 
scenic beauty of Niagara Falls has for some years operated to 
check further diversions of water from the Falls for power 
purposes. Happily this plea has incidentally put a stop to the 
further exploitation of this power for private gain. But the 
Commission, in bringing cheap power and light to the com- 
munities in thousands of square miles of territory in Ontario, 
has created a new kind of vested interest in hydro-electric 
power— a vested interest which is the right and endowment of 
the humblest citizen and which aims at no advantage except 
the welfare of the whole people. This newly established public 
* rio-ht and the increasing cost of coal or other sources of energy 



will impel the people of both Canada and the United States to 
draw more and more upon these and other waters to satisfy 
their daily needs. The present diversion of water at Niagara 
for power purposes could be doubled without seriously affecting 
the scenery of the Falls. But whatever the effect on the scenery, 
the day will come when the lower Niagara River will be turned 
into a gallery of power stations, serving the wants of a third 
of the population of the continent. The power of the St. 
Lawrence, too, will be harnessed to its full capacity ; and then 
the rivers of the great north land will begin to do service for 
the millions of Canadians in a day not very distant, when the 
shores of James Bay and Hudson Bay will have become the 
summer resort of the continent. 

Already three other provinces — Manitoba, Nova Scotia and 
New Brunswick, have followed the leadership of Ontario in 
creating power commissions. A short account of these will be 
found in the appendix. The state of New York is moving in 
an uphill fight in the same direction. In the United States at 
large, water power development under public protection has 
been stayed by the more or less conflicting action of the three 
federal departments — the Interior, Agriculture and War — 
among whom the control has heretofore been divided, but such 
conflict has been ended bv the establishment of a Federal Power 
Commission composed of the secretary of each department, and 
a trial is being made of a system of water leases which will at 
least safeguard this great natural resource from further aliena- 
tion. Hydro-electric power development will now j)roceed more 
rapidly over the whole continent, and in the coining era the 
crown of honor will surely be awarded to the little band of 
municipalities whose faithfulness to their ideals has implanted 
throughout America the conviction that the water powers are 
not to be local monopolies of private franchise holders but an 
estate held in trust for the whole people. 


Feed rultfM' Opcralf'd l»y Hydro Fowei 



Electric Motor Operating a Thresher 



Chapter I: General Principles— Public Ownership of Public 

Services ^ 

Chapter II: Power Resources of Canada and the United States. 16 
Chapter III: Eighth Wonder of the World Revealed at Niagara 

Falls 27 

Chapter IV: The Apostles of Power and Their Missions to 


Chapter V: The People’s Claim to the Public Resources; and 

the Struggle for the Control of the Niagara 37 

Chapter VI: Genesis of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission- 

Reports of the First Commissions 42 

Chapter VII: The Situation at Hamilton 58 

Chapter VIII: The Permanent Power Commission and its Consti- 

Chapter IX: Organization and Development 71 

Chapter X: Evolution of the Electric Power Federation 81 

Chapter XI: Toronto’s Struggle for Self-government— The 

Power and Lighting Problem 88 

Chapter XII : Organization of the Toronto System 98 

Chapter XIII; The Electric Railway Era and its Significance to 


Chapter XIV: The Electric Railway Act 115 

Chapter XV: Niagara Power on the New York Side 119 

Chapter XVI; Electricity on the Farm 127 

Chapter XVII; The Power Problem of the St. Lawrence 133 

Chapter XVIII: Fiat Justicia — The Commission and the Law.. 143 

Chapter XIX: Review of Present Operating Conditions 148 

Chapter XX: Sir Adam Beck 152 


Section I; The Laboratories, Shops and Inspection Departments 

of the Commission 156 

Section II: Water Power Leases 164 

Section III: The Power Systems 167 

Section IV : Other Provincial Power Commissions 185 

Section V: Financial Summary 192 

Section VI: Bibliography 193 




Chapter I: General Principles— Public Ownership of Public 

Services ; 

Chapter II: Power Resources of Canada and the United States. 
Chapter III: Eighth Wonder of the World Revealed at Niagara 


Chapter IV: The Apostles of Power and Their Missions to 


Chapter V: The People’s Claim to the Public Resources; and 

the Struggle for the Control of the Niagara 

Chapter VI: Genesis of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission 

Reports of the First Commissions 

Chapter VII; The Situation at Hamilton 

Chapter VIII: The Permanent Power Commission and its Consti- 

Chapter IX: Organization and Development 

Chapter X: Evolution of the Electric Power Federation 

Chapter XI: Toronto’s Struggle for Self-government— The 

Power and Lighting Problem 

Chapter XII: Organization of the Toronto System 

Chapter XIII: The Electric Railway Era and its Significance to 


Chapter XIV: The Electric Railway Act 

Chapter XV: Niagara Power on the New York Side 

Chapter XVI : Electricity on the Farm 

Chapter XVII: The Power Problem of the St. LaAvrence 

Ch.apter XVIII: Fiat Justicia — The Commission and the Law.. 

Chapter XIX: Review’ of Present Operating Conditions 

Chapter XX: Sir Adam Beck 




















Section I; The Laboratories, Shops and Inspection Departments 

of the Commission 156 

Section II : Water Power Leases 164 

Section III: The Power Systems 167 

Section TV: Other Provincial Power Commissions 185 

Section V: Financial Suminavy 192 

section VI; Bililiogmiihy 192i 




SiPv Adam Beck -[54 

Executive Offices, University Avenue, 1'oronto Frontispiece 

Horseshoe Falls, Niagara, Illuminated by the Hydro-Electric 

Power Commission 

Niagara Falls from the Air 27 

Views of Healey Falls .....138,139 

Map of Transmission Lines of Hydro-Electric Power Commis- 
sion 74^75 

Aeroplane View of Queenston-Chippawa Power Canal 90 

Views of Queenston-Chippawa Power Canal, under Construc- 
tion 170,171 

Eugenia Falls Power Site 107 

Feed Cutter Operated by Hydro Powder 126 

Electric Motor Operating Thresher, prom Hydro-Electric 

Power Commission’s Lines 127 

Silo-filling with Hydro Power 01 


General Principles — Public Ownership of Public Services. 

1*01' several generations the main highways, the railways and, 
to a great extent, the canals of Great Britain, the United States 
and Canada have been under the control of private individuals 
and corporations. In extensive regions of these countries the 
ownership and administration of the chief channels of com- 
munication by private companies has been so long continued 
and complete that it has been accepted as the natural order of 
things, just as the motion of the earth or the moon is accepted 
as following from the laws of the universe. 

Is this authority of a private person over the means of 
transport and other public services such as power and light a 
natural and ancient right or is it a modern trespass ? The ques- 
tion can be answered with absolute certaintv. The necessity of 
means of travel and the common right to those means is set 
forth clearly at the very beginning of the history of our race. 
To Adam and his descendants the command was given : ‘‘Re- 
plenish the earth and subdue it.” The public right to the 
means of traffic is not merely implied but is imperatively 
required by this proclamation of the Creator. How could the 
world be colonized and the waste places replenished without a 
common right to move from place to place, and how could this 
migration continue without recognized rights of way? If it 
should be shown that no bar to migration existed in primitive 
times because there was then no private ownership of land, this 
would not in any way lessen the public right to the means of 
travel. It would in fact concede the public right to hold land 
and roads, for the one right would include the other. 

It is remarkable that after the flood, when, by reason of 





the iueurable wickedness of the ante-diluvian i>eoples, the slate 
was wiped clean and the race was given a new start under 
changed conditions, the same injunction to replenish the earth 
and subdue it ” was given, and in precisely the same terms. 
Thus was emphasis laid upon the first injunction. 

The natural instincts of every ancient people must have 
urged them to fulfil this divine injunction, for if it had not 
been so we should have had no traces of those mysterious move- 
ments of nations of the remote past that have so puzzled 
students of ethnography. We know, moreover, that the Baby- 
lonians, Egyptians, Medo-Persians and other . nations not to 
speak of the Romans, treated as a public right the primitive 
highways along which the King’s proclamations and armies 
were sent. 

The migration of the Israelites from Egypt to Palestine 
furnishes a striking specific sanction to the theory of the 
common right to the highway. As they approached the 
promised land the Israelites had io pass through territory 
occupied by the Amorites, and the sacred history states that 
Moses was required to ask from the Amorite King, Sihon, a 
right-of-way through his territory. We must infer that this 
request would not have been made by divine instruction, if it 
had been unjust, or contrary to common usage or natural right. 
Indeed the only ground of refusal likely to be taken was on 
the question of injury to property in passing, but Moses antici- 
pated this by instructing his embassy to assure King Sihon that 
no injury would be done to property and that the Israelites 
would confine themselves to the high road. “ We will go by 
the King’s highway ” is the expression as translated, and it is 
significant that the phrase King’s highway ” occurs at this 
ancient date in such a connection as not merely to imply a public 
right acknowledged among the Amorites in their own govern- 
ment, but as clearly implies the admission of this right to the 





subjects of another ruler, the only condition being that of 
peaceful passage. Such a condition as private ownership of the 
highway could not have existed, or Moses would have recognized 
this by offering compensation to the owners which he did not do. 
So evident was this refusal of thoroughfare held to be a denial 
of a natural right that the advance was made by force of arms 
and this explains the annexation of Sihon’s territory to the 
promised land. 

As the Israelites continued their journey the same question 
arose in the case of Og, the King of Basan, with the same 
result. The inherent public right to the use of the road was 
assumed from the beginning to the end of these episodes. 

Thus the fundamental conditions under which the world 
was to be peopled and its resources made to subserve the uses 
of mankind required that the means of migration and the 
channels of traffic should be a public right, publicly exercised. 
The logic of history is against the theory that the people’s 
highways should be regarded as private property. That this 
function should be made the subject of private profit is there- 
fore not founded on an ancient and natural right but on a 
modern perversion. 

All nations, from those of remote antiquity down to that 
modern hermit people, the Thibetans, have recognized the need 
of a common right-of-way, but if this public right of communi- 
cation had not been thus based on the instincts of the human 
race, the necessities of modern civilization would have called 
for its creation, owing to the advent of the railway and other 
mechanical means of transport. There is no need now to prove 
that the railway is the successor, in modern life, of the high- 
way, for the service of the railway carries its own proof in 
the function it fulfils. The advent of steam and electric power 
and the development of the modern factory system involving 
the division of labor have made the railwav at once a universal 





servan aud a umversal master. Railway freight rates passeu- 
ger rates and express rates are not commodities bouglrt in a 
market by the citizen but taxes paid for a public service. These 
ates are none the less public taxes, because the railway may 
e operated by a private corporation, for that corporation can 
only ac as a creature of the government, through the charter 

ft: : -‘'■o^ty.^niL ::: 

orms of taxation, the taxes known as railway rates are an 
inescapable burden, falling upon poor and ^0^ for there “ 
not a single article that is bought or sold that does not owe 
0 the railway or highway service some element of its cost or 
p oduetion. Proofs of this fact have been fully set out in 
another work, m which,* after various illustrations, the true 
relation of the railways to the people is stated in the form of 
five mam propositions substantially as follows : 

a countr^'^'’' 

the “0 soiree of railway revenue other than 

the rates miposed upon the people for the carrying of their 
persons and their goods. ^ ^ ^ 

of Je'’»'lth~ •!* fountain 

f wealth within the railway itself, but from the earnings of 

the people whose labor and money furnish the traffic. 

Fourth— By the division of labor in modem civilized life 
everyone who earns or spends money contributes directly or 
ndirectly to tte cost of transportation, and this cost e^ers 
into every article used by every citizen. 

Fifth-A nation’s means of communication is a function of 
sovereign y and since all the people contribute to their cost 
railway rates are a national tax, and when traced to Zt 

IZo t uZr 

* “ The Canadian Railway Problem.” Macmillan & Co., Toronto 


I • 




N'ow it follows logically from the last proposition that 
when a state delegates this power of taxation to a private 
company and that company exercises this sovereign power for 
its own profit in operation those profits become a tax upon 
a tax. With only this difference, that the one taxing power 
is held by a joint stock company and the other was usually 
held by an individual, the system is precisely that which was 
permitted in the declining years of the Roman empire, when 
the customs and other revenues were raised through authority 
I delegated to men known as “ publicaiii ” who made their wealth 
I by the surplus they were allowed to take from the people over 
and above the tribute required by the government. The pub- 
lican merely anticipated the policy of the modern transporta- 
tion franchise holder of levying in rates “ all that the traffic 
Avould bear.” 

The fact that electricity, coupled with hydraulic power has 
become essential in transportation, lighting and other common 
functions, brings this new power under the same rule of public 

The principle of self-government in the transportation ser- 
vice and in those services such as public lighting, the supply 
of power, water and other requirements that govern modern 
community life, is vital, not only because without the satisfac- 
tion of these needs such communitv life could not exist, but 
because the cost of maintaining them has become the most 
searching and inexorable of all forms of taxation. The in- 
quisitions of the income tax officer may be circumvented, the 
customs duties may be evaded, the inland revenue collectoT- may 
be avoided, but the direct and indirect levies of the railway, 
highway, steamship and other public services fall alike on 
youth apd age, wealth and poverty, on the citizen of the metro- 
polis and the hermit settler in the remotest woods. The tax is 
taken in a thousand forms, most of them without the cognizance 
2 11 


of the tax payer, and never once need he be confronted by a 
customs officer or income tax assessor, but through the self- 
inquisition of his own daily needs. Indeed he may never have 
personally paid a freight bill or bought a railway ticket. 

It is a fundamental principle of representative government 
that the people who pay the taxes shall control the disposition 
of tliose taxes. “ No taxation without representation,” and 
“ millions for defense — not one cent for tribute ” were the de- 
mands that had their issue in the American revolution; but, 
while maintained in form, the principle was abandoned in 
])ractice when the modern highways were given over to private 
corporations to be operated for private profit. 

The “ farming out ” system on the highways of England 
began in 1663, when the counties of Hereford, Cambridge and 
Huntingdon were permitted by act of parliament to levy tolls 
for the maintenance of the trunk roads, and the turnpike 
trusts, thus permitted, developed into such powerful corpora- 
tions that when the era of steam railways began these companies 
were able to extend to the railway systems the monopolies they 
had held over the turnpikes. That the turnpike trusts were 
organized primarily for profit to the shareholders may be in- 
ferred from the estimate made by Adam Smith, author of the 
” Wealth of Nations,” that the tolls levied at the gates of the 
turnpike trusts were more than double . the sums needed to 
maintain the roads in repair. The methods by which their 
, successors, the railway corporations, not content with the profits 

of railway operation, exploited the great natural resources of 
the country such as coal and other mineral lands, forests and 
agricultural lands to their own enrichment, gives ground for 
the charge that the surrender into private hands, for private 
profit, of that which is by its nature a function of the sovereign 
state has been the source of grave corruption of public life in 
the past. That which has been said of the power of song might 



I I 


be pari^)hrased in the realm of politics : “ Let me own a coun- 
try’s railways and I care not who makes its laws.” 

Yet the aim of public law is righteousness and these ancient 
rights are being revindicated. The postal service, which in its 
nature is similar to that of the railway and express, was once 
under private control in Europe and Asia but is now under 
state operation in every country in the world. The post office, 
was always expensive and inefficient under private ownership, 
and it never became cheap and universally serviceable till it 
was brought under state control and operation. The history 
of the postal service is being repeated throughout the world in 
the railway, and other services which by their nature govern 
community life. Starting with the single Kingdom of Belgium 
— which at the very outset of its railway building, recognized the 
transport service as a matter of public concern, — the theory of 
public ownership has been applied in practice in one country 
after another, under all forms of government, until at the 
outbreak of the European war Great Britain, the United States 
and Canada were the only countries of importance where the 
majority of the railways were under private ownership. The 
events of the war demonstrated in hard practice, what ought 
to have been evident in simple logic, that the railway service 
is a unity in its nature performing the one function to the 
whole nation and to every class within it. That the duplication 
of lines to the same centres was a waste of material, labor and 
land was equally demonstrated ; and the whole theory of “ com- 
petition ” under private ownership was shattered beyond recovery 
on the field of war. 

The deduction from this history is that the public control 
of public functions is not a matter of expediency but a matter 
of right and duty, and the obligation to public control will 
not be affected in the least if it could be shown that private 
ownership is more efficient than public. The failure or weakness 



of one administration is not a reason for abandoning the prin- 
ciple of self-government but rather for the reform of the civil 
service or methods of operation. If anything goes wrong in 
our post office we do not dream of handing back to three or 
four private companies the control of our means of intelligence, 
but we demand new men and better methods. 

Advocates of the private ownership of a public function 
imagine that the people’s rights are to be secured through 
competition among private corporations. This is a fallacy 
that obtained wide acee})tance in the first railway era when 
the railway companies, by duplicating and triplicating the 
lines to the chief centres of traffic were seeking a share of 
those revenues drawn in everv case from the communitv at 
large. Rates often were lowered while the companies were 
extending their reach, Imt as soon as they attained their aims, 
then their wider object of maintaining the tolls was sought in 
amalgamating the local systems with which they had connections. 

George Stephenson, whose grasp of railway economics was 
equal to his knowledge of railway engineering problems, thus 
stated the principle : Where combination is possible competition 

is impossible.” 

As before shown, the railway serves the same purpose to 
the entire community and to each individual in the community. 
It is therefore a unity in itself, and unity cannot be maintained 
by disjunction or competition. 

That competition, as exemplified in the multiplication of 
railways between the same cities in Canada, has lessened the 
cost of transportation to the Canadian people is an illusion 
that has now been dispelled. The second and third lines be- 
tween Toronto and Montreal for example, have cost tlie country 
over $60,000,000 besides the annual maintenance and operating 
cost of $3,500,000 to $5,000,000, and the waste of land, labor, 
etc., on the three rights-of-way. Instead of bringing a reduction 



of rates, which was the proposed object, the triplication of lines, 
by a tacit agreement between tlie ‘‘ competitors,” has actually 
been followed by increases. Meantime an area of land in Ontario 
as big as several European states still remains a desert because 
of the lack of the 850 miles of track devoted to this illusory 
“ competition.” The region will remain a desert till electric 
railways open it up. It is calculated that the money thus spent 
on these steam lines would have paid for all the electric lines 
at present proposed by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission 
($51,870,000) leaving several million dollars to the good, and 
that the annual cost of maintenance and operation of these 
steam roads is nearly double the interest on the bonds that 
would be issued for the radial lines. 

From the principles set forth it should not he inferred 
that those who invested money in public service companies did 
anything more reprehensible than those who bought shares in 
factories or mines. They found the jjrivate control of state 
services, or community rights, in existence and therefore took 
it to be right. The primary wrong is, therefore, not with the 
investors, but with the system w^hich in the past two centuries 
has tended to give semblance of right to the claim that the 
public service itself is a private prerogative. If a delegated 
privilege of collecting taxes can be construed into a claim 
for good-will, or an inheritance in favor of the tax collectors, 
then government by the people and for the people is only the 
shadow of a lost power. 



T'hc Power Resources of Canada and the United States. 

To understand what is in store for Ontario in the conver- 
sion of falling water into power, it will be well to survey this 
province in its relation to the rest of the Dominion and to 
the United States, and to know the relation of hydraulic energy 
to coal and the other chief sources of primary power in both 

If a person could mount high enough in an aeroplane and 
possessed a range of vision sufficient to see the whole continent 
at a glance, he would observe some remarkable contrasts in the 
two divisions of North America. From the boundary line 
looking over the United States, one would see that in the 
Rocky Mountain and Pacific Slope States where water power is 
most abundant the population and the coal deposits are relatively 
least. The same is true of the White Mountain and Adirondack 
Mountain districts of the Eastern states, and in a modified way 
of the Appalachian mountain regions of the south-east. In 
striking contrast to this, one finds the densest population and 
the greatest congregation of industries in those great central 
and eastern areas, most devoid of water power but most bounti- 
fully endowed with deposits of anthracite and bituminous coal, 
and of power-producing mineral oils. Almost the only ex- 
ception to this statement is the vast power source of Niagara 
Falls, described in other chapters. 

Turning the eye north to Canada we see the above conditions 
almost completely reversed. The Atlantic seaboard province of 
Nova Scotia has bituminous coal areas aggregating nearly 
11,000,000,000 tons, with undeveloped water powers of but little 



over 100,000 h.p. New Brunswick has 166,000,000 tons of bitu- 
minous coal — with beds of oil shale as yet undetermined — and 
about 300,000 hydraulic horsepower. Beyond the prairie regions 
and extending from the United States boundary to the Arctic 
Islands of Canada along the Rockies and the Pacific Slope, there 
are coal beds officially estimated at 1,346,658,400,000 tons of 
which 845,900,000 tons are semi-anthracite and about 1,000,- 
000,000,000 tons lignite and sub-bituminous, the rest being 
bituminous. There is here an exception to the rule, inasmuch 
as British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon have over 3,500,000 
h.p., of undeveloped hydraulic energy, in addition to their 
colossal coal deposits. 

But what a contrast do we find in the provinces of Central 
Canada. In Quebec there is neither coal nor mineral oif for 
power production. In Ontario there are small and diminishing 
quantities of natural gas and mineral oil. Traces of low grade 
lignite have been found in Northern Ontario, and there have 
been unverified reports of coal in the islets of Hudson Bay, but 
there is no evidence of commercially usable coal in this province. 
To these two provinces, however, a marvelous and providential 
compensation has been given in the hydro-electric energy, more 
precious than coal and all other forms of primary power com- 
bined except for the one purpose of heating.* Ontario and 
Quebec contain more than half the popu lation a nd five-sixths 
of the manufactures of the Dominion. Of the total endowment 
of water power in Canada of about 20,000,000 h.p., Ontario and 
Quebec inherit about 12,000,000 undeveloped horse-power or 
three-fifths of the whole; and the distribution of it is remark- 
able. From the termination of the prairie land in Manitoba 
there rises the great Laurentian chain of mountains, extending 

* See Hydro-Electric Power Commission’s bulletin on “ Heating 
of Houses — coal and electricity compared.” Also bulletin No. 6 under 
same title, prepared for the Hon. Council for Scientific and Industrial 
Kesearch, by A. S. L. Barnes. 



eastward to the shores of Labrador, aud forming a “ great square 
of Pegasus,” more than 1500 miles from west to east, and 1000 
miles from north to south. Stating it broadly, these ridges 
have a backbone which fairly evenly parallels the shores of 
Hudson and James Bays on the north, and Lake Ontario and 
the great St. Lawrence on the south, with an elevation of one 
to two thousand feet above the sea. Hence the manv rivers 
and streams flowing north and south from these heights give a 
hydraulic situation without equal in the world, either as to 
the volume of power or its availability for the service of the 
people. At present there is a far grtiater density of population 
in the southern portions of these provinces, but if the present 
colonization movement continues it may not be many years 
before the power awaiting to be developed in Northern Ontario 
and Quebec will sustain more people and their industries than 
now exist in the southern sections. It would be astonishing if 
this were not the case, judging by what is happening in the 
mountain states, and by what has already been accomplished by 
the Hydro-Electric Commission, as we shall see later on. What 
the late T. C. Keefer, one of Canada’s ablest engineers, said of 
Canada at large may be applied especially to Ontario : — 

“There is an almost continuous distribution of lakes, lake- 
lets and rivers; the lakes of various outlines, dimensions and 
elevations from the sea, and many possessing facilities for the 
storage of their flood waters. It many places the outlet from the 
lake or chain of lakes is a narrow cleft in the rock where an 
inexpensive dam will hold back the water supplied by the 
winter’s accumulation of snow.” 

^Ir. H. G. Acres in a monograph on this subject,* 
expresses the opinion that “practically all industrial and com- 
mercial centres in the Dominion, from coast to coast, have 

“ Water Powers of Canada — The Province of Ontario.” Bv 

_ r 

H. G. Acres, Hydraulic Engineer, Hydro-Electric Power Commission of 



sufficient potential water power within easy transmission radius 
and of sufficient capacity to meet all anticipated requirements.” 

A revolutionary change is already being wrought in the 
process of colonization in Ontario by the electrical transmission 
of water power. The settlements during the first half of last 
century followed the channels of the rivers and the lake routes, 
and these were modified by the routes of the railways built in 
the last half of the century; but now the water powers of 
Ontario, utilized as an element of public policy, are carrying 
forward agriculture, mining and industrial developments, in- 
cluding electro-metallurgical and electro-chemical industries in 
leaps that will bridge hundreds of miles of wilderness at a bound, 
drawing the electric railways after them as bridges for further 
progress. In this era of power development it is quite possible 
to apply great blocks of power near the site of the power houses 
at the lowest rates attainable in order to smelt ores, refine 
metals, produce chemicals and their compounds on such a scale 
as to furnish materials and feed the industries of the whole 
province or even aid in exports as has been done at Niagara 
Falls. Such a control of power would afford stability to in- 
dustries in general, by having within the provincial borders the 
assurance of an uninterrupted source of supply for the essential 
chemicals and metals. 

Mr. Cecil B. Smith, another distinguished Canadian engineer, 
pointed out one important advantage in the power supply of 
these regions in the storage of water by winter’s snow, which 
often defers the period of minimum flow till the time of the 
autumn rains. Since the efficiency of a stream is determined 
by its minimum flow, nature here comes to our aid in the 
climate by rerlncing the difference between the maximum and 
minimum flow. 

Remembering that the actual present developments have so 
greatly outpaced the calculations of many experienced engin- 



eers, advances predicated on these natural resources are surely 
within sight of the present generation. The Hydro-Electric 
Power Commission of Ontario whose history will he reviewed 
in this work, began with the delivery of 750 horse power in 
August, 1910, none of which it generated; now it is distributing 
over 315,000 h.p. and when its generating plants on the Niagara 
and other rivers are in operation in 1921 it will have 750,000 
h.p. for public use — that is to say one thousand times its initial 
output. The total hydraulic energy of Ontario is variously 
estimated at 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 h.p. or nearly nine times 
the power now developed, but this takes no account of the 
increased efficiency from storage dams or the better use of 
some of the present uneconomical plants. Basing conclusions 
on the opinions of such engineers as T. C. Keefer and Cecil B. 
Smith, the potential powers of Ontario are greater than 
present estimates. A number of the rivers and streams 
flowing into James and Hudson Bays have never been explored 
and consequently their powers remain unmeasured. That in- 
vestigations will disclose more power will be apparent from 
the three situations on the St. Lawrence, the Ottawa and the 
Georgian Bay waterways. At the Long Sault Rapids and near 
Morrisburg on the St. Lawrence, referred to elsewhere, a million 
horse power may be developed for Ontario and another million 
for the state of New York. Investigations have not been 
thorough in regard to the upper Ottawa and Georgian Bay 
region, but when a private company approached the Laurier 
Government a few years ago for a charter to canalize the upper 
Ottawa to connect the upper lakes with the St. Lawrence they 
stated that a million horse power would be available as an 
incident to the public advantage of the navigation channel. 
This estimate was subsequently confirmed by a government 
engineer. The late Cecil B. Smith estimated from a govern- 
ment report on the French River improvements which were 



part of the scheme, that the power revenue would be sufficient 
to cover the interest on the canal expenditures which had been 
placed at $150,000,000. 

As stated, the power possibilities of the great north land 
sloping to James and Hudson Bays have only been partially 
explored and the mineral resources of that region are even less 
known, but the fact that the greatest nickel mines of the 
world and the greatest cobalt-silver mines of the world were 
disclosed in this region as the result of excavations for railways 
will justify the expectation of further disclosures, when these 
latent resources are turned into public service. 

At the last meeting of the British Association for the ad- 
vancement of science, the President, Sir Charles A. Parsons, 
the inventor of the steam turbine, referring to the influence 
of cheap water power said : “At some time more or less remote- 
long before the exhaustion of our coal — the population will 
gradually migrate to those countries where the natural sources 
of energy are most abundant.” 

Reviewing one aspect of the Hydro-Electric policy, it may 
be conceded that if no attempt had been made to extend to the 
general public the advantages of the large water powers such 
a place as Niagara Falls might to-day have been a large centre 
of chemical and other industries, but the Hydro-Electric Power 
Commission has been the means of bringing the blessing of 
nature’s coal-saving and power-increasing resource to hundreds 
of communities whose industries react beneficially on the 
farming communities of the whole area reached. These numer- 
ous cities, towns and villages now constitute the greatest and 
most diversified industrial area in the Dominion, and there can 
be no question that if this cheap power were withdrawn these 
manifold industries would be paralyzed. The industrial situ- 
ation may be concentrated into one significant fact that from 
the high rates of steam-raised power — $40 to $60 per h.p. — 



the average cost of power in the Commission’s territory has 
been reduced to $18 per h.p. per year, or less than half that 
of any State in the American Union east of the Pacific Slope. 
The comparison, it will be noted, is with those American States 
of the mid-continent and the east where coal is cheapest and 
industrial development has been greatest. 

increase the price of coal and the proba- 
bility that the anthracite mines of the United States may be 
exhausted in fifty years will raise tlu' question of Canada’s pre- 
dicament, if that country restricts or prohibits the export of 
coal. Attention was called to this problem in 1910 by Mr. 
Arthur \ . M hite,* consulting engineer to the Commission of 
Conservation, who suggested an exchange of electric power for 
coal, if Canada were pressed in this matter. It is obvious, 
howe\ei, that if Canada uses her own coal even though deprived 
of anthracite, she will retain her economic independence and 
avoid a heavy annual financial drain. Canada consumes about 
35,000,000 tons a year, but as she produces only about 15,000,000 
tons there is an import bill for about 20,000,000 tons. Prac- 
tically all of this outlay could be saved if the state owned or 
controlled the mines and railway rates were revised to equalize 
the price in central Canada. Every horse power of hydro- 
electric energy developed saves many times its cost in coal. It 
is not as easy as it seems at first thought to determine what the 
difference is in practice between steam-raised and hydro-electric 
power. There are comparatively few engines that give the 
highest attainable efficiency, which is about 6 tons of coal for 
each horse power per year. With inefficient engines or engines 
operating only 8 or 10 hours a day, the cost may run up to 
50 tons per horse power per year ; so that 20 to 30 tons per 
year may represent the average present cost in Canada. The 
consumption in Canadian locomotives alone varies from 9,000,000 

* University Magazine, Oct., 1910. 



to 12,000,000 tons a year, and hauling coal monopolizes one- 
third of the freight of Canadian railways. Making allowance 
for the need of coal for heating, the electrification of Canadian 
lines would turn this annual drain of money into a source of 
current revenue from the development of the Canadian mining 
industry. To use coal for the generation of electricity, however, 
is in the first place to use up the country’s capital resources, 
and in the second to tax its transportation capacity; whereas 
^ waterpower once installed is the one natural resource that is 

not diminished by use but replaces itself by the inexhaustible 
bounty of the heavens. In a recent statement Mr. Franklin 
; K. Lane, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, said: “Mater power 

can do more than any one thing to lower the cost and raise 
the standard of living; it is the root of agricultural wealth; it 
is the key to the industrial life of the future, and it is essential 
to our national defense. The policy of the government towards 
water power affects the welfare of every man, woman and child. 

These convictions were no doubt based on observations of 
developments in the United States, and these developments are 
of the highest interest as an index to power developments in 
' Canada. A report made to the Department of Agriculture in 

1916 on “ Electrical Power Developments in the United States ’’ 

' showed that of a total of 30,448,000 h.p. for all ])rimary purposes 

1 in 1912, 80% was still raised by steam, water power represent- 

ing 4,870,000 h.p. While water power development increased 
from 1902 to 1912 by 98%, in the whole country the increase 
in the Mountain and Pacific States was 451% or over four and 
a half times as much as in all the other states combined. It is 
noteworthy that 120 privately owned corporations claim to own 
four-fifths of the water powers now used in public .service oper- 
ations, on which the report comments ; “ The investigation shows 
a marked tendencv towards association or communitv of interests, 
j ' partioularlv l>otweon tho principal holding companies, that can- 




not be viewed without concern.” While the rate of increase 
in steam-raised power from 1902 to 1912 was 96%, that from 
water power was 137%, 

Attention is drawn to the fact that “ no other state has had 
such remarkable water power development as California within 
the last few years.” Hundreds of thousands of horse power 
liave been developed and hundreds of millions have been invested 
in the electrical power business. Yet a most careful investiga- 
tion could not discover that a single new public utility enter- 
prise involving the development of water power had been 
started in that state in the last six years. The remarkable 
development which has taken place consists entirely in extensions 
to the business of concerns already in the field ***** fpjjg 
determining factors will be the control of the market and the 
control of the sources of credit. Hence the report shows the sig- 
nificance of the fact that directors and officers in banks are also 
directors and officers in the electric power holding companies. 
The investigators see a dead-lock between the public and private 
interests, and suggest the creation of a common carrier system 
of distribution under public control, a step which would reduce 
by one half the interest rate now demanded of electrical develop- 
ment projects. These facts will be impressive to those Canadians 
who imagined that the idea of competition w'ould have had any 
influence on a group of private capitalists who had already 
secured a monopoly of power as at Niagara Falls and other 
points. This gives us the measure of the public service already 
rendered by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission. 

By comparison Canada is richer in coal resources than the 
United States. The reserves of the latter country within 3000 
ft. of the surface are estimated at 4,231,352,000,000 tons, or 
one-half those of the whole world; while those of Canada are 
1,360,535,000,000 tons. These are nearly a third of the United 
States’ supplies whereas the population of Canada is about one- 



tenth that of the United States. The coals of the Canadian 
Rocky Mountain region, ‘‘ as regards both quality and quantity, 
constitute probably one of the most valuable deposits in the 

If we assume that half the coal imported will still be used 
for heating purposes, the saving on the imports of coal that 
would be effected if all the 6,000,000 h.p. of hydro-electric 
energy available in Ontario were developed would be 60,000,000 
tons, which at $10 a ton would amount to $600,000,000 a year. 

A report just issued by the Department of the Interior, 
under the direction of Mr. J. B. Challies, Water Power Branch, 
indicates the rapid transformation already made in the use 
of hydro-electric power. In 1918 the total primary power in- 
stalled in the central stations of Canada was 1,844,571 h.p. of 
which 180,200 h.p. was generated by steam, 11,710 by gas and 
oil engines, while 1,652,661 h.p. or nearly 90% of the whole 
was generated by water power. Ontario alone generates 95.7^' 
of all its power from water. On this Mr. Challies remarks: 
The percentage of primary power in central stations produced 
from water is extraordinarily high, and is indicative of two 
outstanding features, viz .: — the extent and availability of the 
water power resources of the Dominion, and the remarkable 
degree to which their adaptability for central station work has 
been appreciated in principle and realized in practice.” The 
Dominion has already 276 developed horse power per thousand 
inhabitants — a ratio exceeding that of any country in the world 
except Norway. 

Electrical engineers are confident that in long distance 
transmission pressures can be increased from 110,000 volts to 
220,000 or 250,000 volts which would enable generating stations 
on or near the Laurentian divide ” to transmit electrical power 
to the southernmost confines of Ontario. 

* Cecil B. Smitlu 



In concluding this survey of the prospect of Ontario’s power 
developments, it may he said that the Power Commission has 
provided the foundation upon which the municipalities of 
Ontario may build up not merely the form, but the reality of 
self-government in the conduct of their public services, and 
that its evolution has opened for the whole world a new vista 
in the administration of public utilities. Every year since the 
pioneer municipalities pledged their faith in the statesmanship 
of the plan, there has been a steady and sometimes an embarrass- 
ing increase in the number of city, town, village, county and 
township councils that have come into communion with tlie 
new organization, in the supply of light and power. 

Under the control of the Hydro-Electric Power Com- 
mission of Ontario each municipality may furnish power and 
light to its citizens at rates as low as feasible, provided these 
rates cover the cost and do not discriminate against individuals 
or against neighboring municipalities: and these rates can 
never be taken out of their own control, nor will it be in the 
power of a private company to make capital out of a community s 

own growth. 



The Horseshoe Pnlls at Niajxara, TllmniTinton by the Hyilro-Eloetric Power Conmiission of Ontario. 

iivDKo-KLix’Tinc ix oxtakiu 

In i-ouclutliiig thi> survev of the prospect of Ontario*' power 
developments, it may he said that the Power Commission has 
provided the foundation upon which the municipalities of 
Ontario may build up not merely the form, hut the reality of 
self-government in the conduct of their public services, and 
that Its evolution has o[iened for the whole world a new vista 
in the administration of jtuhlic utilities, livery year since the 
pioneer municipalities jiledged their faith in the statesmanship 
i.f th<‘ plan, there has been a Meatly and sometimes an emltarrass- 
ing increa'C in the number of city, town, village, county and 
township councils that have come into communion with the 
ni“w urganization. in the suii]>ly of light and power. 

ruder th»‘ control of the I lydro-Klectrii- Power Com- 
mission of Ontario each municipality may furnish power and 
light to its citizens at rates as low as feasible, provided these 
rate- cover the cost and do not discriminate against individuals 
or against neighboring municipalities; and these rates can 
never be taken out of tludr own control, nor will it be in the 
power of a private (‘ompiany to make capital out of a coinmunitv s 

own growth. 



Eighth ^Yonder of the World Revealed at Niagara 

In the closing years of the nineteenth century engineers 
were groping their way towards a comprehension of the possi- 
bilities of long distance transmission of the electric current for 
power, lighting and other kinds of service to the community. 
Nowhere in America was the progress of electrical engineering 
followed more keenly than in central Canada, for the reasons 
outlined in the last chapter. 

Happily the electrical engineers who were then teaching the 
people the enlarging uses of electricity were not thwarted by 
those in the seats of the mighty, as was the case in the infancy 
of the steam railway, but found willing colleagues among pro- 
vincial legislators and leaders in commercial life. AVhen it had 
been demonstrated that power and light could be transmitted 
from Niagara Falls to Buffalo the possibility of transmitting 
to Toronto and other Ontario cities became of general interest, 
especially while the sufferings of the people from the effects of 
the Pennsylvania coal strike of the autumn of 1902 were still 
fresh in mind. The lesson of this strike was all the plainer, 
from the standpoint of the piiblic interest, since it was a private 
railway corporation that withheld the coal at mines in the 
middle of winter, when it was most needed, and it was the 
private railway corporations that failed to distribute the coal 
already mined. Coal which in 1901 was sold to consumers in 
Toronto at less than $5 a ton (the city of Toronto had bought 
its supply at $3.68) could now be had with difficulty at $10 to 
$16 a ton, and Toronto and other Canadian cities for the first 
time were obliged to import tw'o ship loads of Welsh coal at an 
average of $10 a ton to keep the citizens from perishing. This 




) t 


Eighth Wonder of the World Revealed at Niagara. 

In the closing years of the nineteenth century engineers 
were groj)ing their way towards a comprehension of the possi- 
bilities of long distance transmission of the electric current for 
power, lighting and other kinds of service to the community. 
Nowhere in America was the progress of electrical engineering 
followed more keenly than in central Canada, for the reasons 
outlined in the last chapter. 

Happily the electrical engineers who were then teaching the 
people the enlarging uses of electricity were not thwarted by 
those in the seats of the mighty, as was the case in the infancy 
of the steam railway, hut found willing colleagues among pro- 
vincial legislators and leaders in commercial life. AVhen it had 
been demonstrated that power and light could be transmitted 
from Niagara Falls to BulTalo the possibility of transmitting 
to Toronto and other Ontario cities became of general interest, 
especially while the sufferings of the people from the effects of 
the Pennsylvania coal strike of the autumn of 1902 were still 
fresh in mind. The lesson of this strike was all the plainer, 
from the standpoint of the public interest, since it was a pri\ate 
railway corporation that withheld the coal at mines in the 
middle of winter, when it was most needed, and it was the 
private railway corporations that failed to distribute the coal 
already mined. Coal which in 1901 was sold to consumers in 
Toronto at less than $5 a ton (the city of Toronto had bought 
its supply at $3.68) could now be had with difficulty at $10 to 
$15 a ton, and Toronto and other Canadian cities for the first 
time were obliged to import two ship loads of Welsh coal at an 
average of $10 a ton to keep the citizens from perishing. Thi< 
;? 27 


crisis first directed general attention to the fuel and power 
problem of Ontario, and the failure to discover any areas of 
either bituminous or anthracite coal in Ontario or Quel)ec has 
made the problem of increasing interest since then, because of 
the rise in the permanent level of coal prices. 

It was to be expected, therefore, that the beginnings of long 
distance transmission of electric power should concern the | 
people of Ontario very seriously. If the power of the Niagara 
River could be fully used and distributed this source alone 
would replace all the coal then used for driving the machinery 
and lighting the homes of all the citizens, with vast amounts to ^ 

spare for helping the work of the fai'ms. Between Lakes Erie 
and Ontario there is a difference in level of 326 ft. at mean 
stages of water, and the volume of water flowing down the 
Niagara averages 210,000 cubic feet per second.* This repre- 
sents an amount of energy calculated by various authorities at I 

from 5,500,000 to over 10,000,000 horse-power, according to j 

location of the power stations and the methods adopted for 
development. Naturally, as electrical science advanced, public 
interest centred first upon Niagara not only because it was 
so long knovm as a natural wonder, and the power so enormous ' 

but because of the great population to the west and east who 
could use the power when developed. 

The creation of the national parks on both sides of the river 
also had an important, though undesigned, influence on the 
coming conversion of Niagara’s power to the uses of the people. 1 

From the time an account of the cataract was published by * 

Father Hennepin in England in 1698 this spot has been an 
attraction to an increasing stream of visitors from every part of 
the world, but for over half a century before the establishment 
of the parks, the place was infested by parasites of all sorts 

* A committee of the Legislature of the State of New York 
estimated its flow at 256,000 feet per second, and the total theoretical 
power of the fall from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario at 8,102,000 horse 
power. , 



who took merciless toll from the tourists. Extortion prevailed 
from the hackmen, who would threaten personal violence to any 
visitor questioning his fare, to the estate owner who could block 
the w&y to the best points of view. The hackmen were paid 
commissions for directing tourists to the bazaars or to hotels, 
and the system of piracy was reflected through the whole 

On his visits to the falls during his term of governor general- 
ship of Canada from 1872 to 1878 Lord Dufferin was grieved 
by the hucksters, peddlers and sharpers who swarmed at all 
the points of interest levying tolls at every turn on the unfor- 
tunate tourist.”* 

Lord Dufferin, on meeting the governor of the State of 
New York in 1878 suggested joint action by the governments 
of New York and Ontario to establish a park from which the 
public could view the falls without fee or annoyance. Governor 
Robinson responded and the result of the appeal of these two 
men was the formation of a public park system on each side 
of the river, the New ITork park being known as the “ State 
Reservation of Niagara ” and the Ontario as the “ Queen 
Victoria Niagara Falls Park” administered by government 
commissions each working in harmony with the other. The 
Ontario park was opened on the Queen’s birthday, 24th ^lay, 
1888, and then comprised 154 acres. It has been enlarged 
from time to time till it now comprises 1,178 acres stretching 
along the river front thirty-five miles. 

It was Lord Dufferin’s idea that the park should be a 
national one, and yielding their provincial rights ” the Ontario 

* See Annual Report Park Commissioners for 1895. In an address 
to the Society of Artists, Toronto, in 1878, Lord Dufferin, referring to 
Niagara Falls, said : “ The pleasure the pilgrim may have derived has 
been miserably marred by his experience at the hands of the various 
squatting interests that have taken possession of every point of vantage. 
When his whole being is about to be given to the natural beauties, his 
imagination and poetic faculties are suddenly shocked by a demand for 
ten cents.” 










government in 1880 passed an enabling act, giving the pro- 
vince’s consent to Dominion ownership. The province had 
the legal right to the lands and the bed of the river, but the 
premier of the province. Sir Oliver Mowat, who had won in 
the constitutional contest — the “ Rivers and Streams Bill ” case 
— to establish this claim, thought it well that such a park 
should be national. The Dominion government failed to act, 
and after a lapse of five years the Ontario government took 
up the duty and at a cost of $525,000 acquired the lands, 
extinguished the privileges of the private exploiters, prohibited 
gambling, the sale of intoxicants and soliciting by the cabmen 
within the park. But the revenues from such concessions as 
had to he maintained in the public interest proved disappoint- 
ing, and as there was criticism of the cost, the provincial 
government inclined to the opinion that the province should 
not be taxed for the advantage of the local community. 

In this dilemma the park commissioners turned to the idea 
of leasing a water power right. Thus by the advance of elec- 
trical science the field of exploitation was suddenly enlarged 
from the ten cent fakir in natural scenery to the ten million 
dollar concessionaire Avho was to take toll on the powers of 



The Apostles of Power, and their Missions to Niagara. 

The appetite for power had already been whetted by what 
was happening on the American side of the Niagara. The ^ 
company known till recently as the Niagara Palls Hydraulic 
Power and Manufacturing Co., (now known as the Niagara 
Palls Power Co.) had been incorporated as far back as 1853, 
planning to build a canal by which water would be taken from 
a point above the falls and led to the cliff below the falls where 
shafts for the wheels would be cut to a depth as great as would 
be safe for the small water wheels of those days. It was not 
till 1881 that water power was converted into electrical energy, 
this company using arc light machines for lighting stores and 
streets; but by 1895-6 the advances in electrical science, and 
the improved form of turbines, set horizontally so as to 
eliminate trouble in the bearings, made it possible to use for 
the first time the full head of 210 ft. from the top of the cliff 
to the river below the falls, where a turbine of 6,850 h.p. was 

So far as is known the first application of electricity as a 
motive power for railways was made in Toronto, at the Exhi- 
bition of 1883, where passengers were carried over a short 

The first transmission of electric energy by water power 
in Canada was carried out by the late John R. Barber, who 
transmitted a hundred horse power from a dam to his paper 
mill near Georgetown, Ont., two miles distant. It was used.V 
at the mill both for power and light, and was first operated, 
in 1888. It is believed to be the first long distance installation 
in the world. The first transmission line in the United States 
was installed at Pomona, Cal., in 1891. 



By 1891 electric traction had advanced so far that the city 
of Ottawa was operating cars in the winter, overcoming trouble 
from snow. In 1888 we find the park commissioners of Niagara*/ 
Falls inviting proposals for an electric scenic railway from 
Qiieenston to Chippawa above the falls, with the double object 
of obtaining revenue for park purposes and giving the tourist 
the means of seeing the sights without depending on the cab- 
men who continued to make as much trouble as possible for 
the commissioners. Water power privileges were to be included 
in the concession. It was not till 1892 that a company of 
Canadians known as the Niagara Falls Park and River Ry., 
took up this enterprise and agreed to pay an annual rental of 
$10,000. The railway was speedily built and is still operated 
on the original terms. The rental was the first regularly 
received from any electrical development at the Falls and was 
sufficient to pay for the maintenance of the park at that period. 

The closing decade of the nineteenth century saw remark- 
able progress in electricity and engineering appliances. Arc 
lighting was being rapidly introduced into cities ; factories were 
being operated by electric motors (the first in Canada having 
been introduced in the newspaper plant of the St. Catharines, 
Out., News as early as 1887) and by 1896 thirty urban and 
inter-urban railways in Canada were electrically operated. 

The solution of the problem of long distance transmission 
marked the real beginning of the era of big machinery and 
large units of power, and naturally th(3 most attractive spot for 
such adventure was this, the world’s most celebrated waterfall. 
The installation in 1900, by the Canadian General Electric Co.,'^ 
of a dynamo of 200 h.p. for the Niagara Falls Park & River 
Ry. was a notable event as it was the largest yet built in 
Canada; but in a few years dynamos of 15,000 h.p. were being 
designed for the power houses here, and generators of 52,500 
h.p. are at present being made for the Commission. 


i '>•'4 


In 1890 we find one of the syndicates seeking a power 
privilege at Niagara Falls pleading for an extension of time 
on the ground that experiments were then being made at the 
works of Ferranti, the electrical inventor, at Deptford, to deter- 
mine the range of long distance transmission. Later in the 
same year it was reported that Ferranti was able to transmit 
electricity a distance of nearly ten miles ‘Ut the tremendous 
pressure of 10,000 volts.” Before the close of the same year 
it was announced from Germany that the voltage on long 
distance lines had been increased to 17,000 volts and the ranp 
of transmission to over 100 miles, with very slight loss in 
transmission. In April, 1901, the Bay Counties Power Co.^ 
of California began to deliver power at Oakland from a generat- 
ing station at Colgate on the Yuba River 142 miles away, and 
in'" November electric current from the same source reached 
San Francisco 222 miles distant. With increase in the reach 
of the current by increased voltage came a relative decrease in 
losses in transmission, so that by the time electric energy was 
transmitted from Niagara Falls to Toronto the voltage in use 
liad increased from a few thousand volts to over 100,000 volts. 
That by which the current was carried from Niagara Falls to 
Toronto, London and other Ontario cities by the Hydro-Electric 
Power Commission of Ontario is transmitted at a voltage of 
110,000, the highest attained in practice up to that time. 

These revelations of the possibilities of electric power, so 
much more fiexible than any other source of energy in its 
applications as a motive power and for lighting, not to speak 
of its uses for scientific purposes and in electro-chemical indus- 
tries were keenly and confidently followed by those who knew 
the financial advantages of converting natural resources into 
some form of taxation. The revelations were studied with 
equal keenness, but with anxiety, by those whose duty it was 
to watch the interests of the people who were to pay these taxes. 

On the American side, the Niagara Falls Power Co., on^^ 



obtaining its power privilege, built a power house with an 
initial capacity of 50,000 h.p,, its plans providing for an 
ultimate capacity of 100,000 h.p. It had, however, the right 
to di\eit sufficient water for 200,000 h.p. In connection with 
this company the Cataract Power and Conduit Co., with head- 
quarters in Buffalo, was formed to distribute the power in 
Buffalo twenty-five miles distant. It may be noted that the. 
Cataract company speedily obtained a monopoly of electric 
power and lighting in Buffalo, and under the name of the 
Buffalo General Electric Co., has maintained it ever since at 
prices far higher than are paid by Toronto which derives its 

electric energy from the same source, a distance of ninety-two 

As long distance transmission began to be realized, the 
attention of power exploiters was turned to the Canadian side 
of the river, where the volume was greater. At the brink of 
the Falls the river is divided by Goat Island, and because of 
the trend of the current above the fall, and the fact that the 
bed of the river is lower at the Horse-shoe,* or Canadian falls, 
o\er seven-eighths of the entire volume of the Niagara flows 
over the Canadian side. 

To get the advantage of this greater volume and more 
Javorable sites for a power house, a company of United States- 
capitalists applied in 1889 to the Queen Victoria Nia*gara Falls 
Park Commissioners for the right to generate power on the 
Canadian side and offered an annual rental of $25,000 a year 
for a term of ten years and after that an increase of $1,000 
a year till the annual rent should be $35,000. Through internal 
differences and delay the deal was never executed. Meantime * 
? some English capitalists associated with the inventions of 

Ferranti took up the proposition and under the name of the 
Canadian Niagara Power Co., obtained the privilege on the same*^ 

* Average height of Horse-Shoe Fall, 159 ft.: average height of 
Araeriean Fall, 165 ft. > b b 



terms of rental. This contract came near to consigning the 
Canadian falls to a monopoly like those on the American side, 
leaving these great powers like a Samson in the lap of Delilah, 
for this group of English capitalists were to have the sole right — 
apart from the franchise already given to the electric railway 
company — of using the waters of the Niagara within the park 
for a term of one hundred years. Providentially for the 
public safety, there was a condition that the company was to 
have ready for use 10,000 horse power by May, 1897. The .. 
company failed to carry out the terms although the park com- 
missioners had reported that they had ‘‘ the command of 
unlimited capital ” and the counsel of the “ greatest English 
electrician of the day.” 

By this time the public, as well as the park commissioners, 
realized the danger of giving such a monopoly to a private com- 
pany, and when the charter was taken up by a group of United 
States capitalists already interested in hydro-electric develop- 
ments on the United States side, a new agreement was made 
with the monopoly clauses deleted and the term shortened to 
fifty years. The company, however, had the option of renewals 
by ten-year periods up to a total of 110 years. This company 
had the right to take sufficient water for 100,000 h.p. at a 
rental of $15,000 a year, up to the year 1949. For all power 
over 10,000 h.p. and up to 20,000 they were to pay an extra 
$1 per year for each horse power, and 75c. extra for each 
horse power from 20,000 and up to 50,000 and 50c. for each 
horse power over 50,000. The company which was capitalized ^ 
at $3,000,000 agreed to have 20,000 h.p. ready by 1904. They 
went to work so energetically that they actually had 50,000 
h.p. ready by that date. 

The next company that was successful in its suit for a power ^ 
site within the limits of the Canadian park was the Ontario 
Power Co. which was also financed by United States capitalists, 
whose expectation was that they would be able to export to the 









New York side any surplus that could not find a market in 
Ontario. This company, in 1900, acquired a Dominion charter 
originally granted in 1887, and planned for a development of 

180.000 h.p., on terms similar to those granted the Canadian 
Niagara Power Co., the license to be a term of fifty years. 

The third company to obtain a power privilege was a cor- ^ 
poration entitled the Electrical Development Co., headed by 
three Canadians: all three were residents of Toronto and share- 
holders in the Toronto Street Railway Company and the Toronto 
Electric Light Co., then the largest consumers of power in 
' Ontario. The Electrical Development Company was capitalized 
at $6,000,000 and organized in 1903. By its agreement, made 
in 1905, the company was to have water enough to develop 

125.000 h.p. and was assessed a rental on terms similar to 
those made with the other companies. The agreement, however, n/ 
was never ratified by the Lieutenant-Covernor in Council. 

In course of time these companies, exceeded the power 
stipulated and the park commissioners demanded rental for 
the excess power. The Canadian Niagara Power Co. paid the 
demand but the other companies contested the claim which in 
the case of the Electrical Development Co. was kept before 
the courts till 1920. There are about twenty other incorpora- 
tions whose projectors had plans for using water on either 
side of the Niagara and tributary streams or for transmitting 
and distributing but whose powers are dormant or have expired 
by lapse of time. 



The People’s Claim to the Public Resources— The Struggle for 

the Control of Niagara. 

The people of Ontario beheld then, at the dawn of the newu- 
century, electrical energy to the amount of over 400,000 h.p. 
in process of development at Niagara Palls at half the price 
of power produced by coal, hut all under the control of private 
companies. While the seekers after profitable franchises were 
thus early awake to the value of Niagara power, others began 
to study the relation of the great natural resources to the public 
welfare. In the majority of Canadian cities the administration 
of municipal services was still in the hands of private com- 
panies. As the variety of uses of electricity increased and the 
range of transmission extended, so its importance increased, 
as a means of rendering municipal services cheaply available 
to all. It was manifestly important to manufacturers to 
cheapen production by this means, and of equal importance to 
merchants and citizens to cheapen the cost of transportation. 
Ontario had become the seat of more manufacturing industries 
than any province of the Dominion. 

On the other hand the rise of the lobby, system in theu- 
federal and provincial parliaments whereby private interests 
were obtaining legislation enabling them to take away the right 
of self-government from cities and towns, roused the people 
to the dangers of government by private corporations. Under 
the powers granted in some cases a company could in practice 
take possession of a city’s streets, damage property or interrupt 
the civic works and prevent it from exercising its public powers. 
As for service connected with lighting and power, few of the 
companies published any standard rates. Any applicant for 




power or commercial lighting would be charged, not by the 
amount of his requirements but by his ability to pay or the 
urgency of his needs, or otherwise how near the company could 
come to the cost of steam power in each case, just as the railway 
companies had been in the habit of iixing rates on the principle 
of charging “ all that the traffic would bear.’’ 

To resist the encroachments of these corporations a con-\/ 
vention of representatives of Canadian Municipalities was held 
in Toronto in 1901 when a “ Union of Canadian Municipalities ” 
was formed with 0. A. Howland, iMayor of Toronto, as presi- 
dent, and W. D. Lighthall, Mayor of Westmount, Que., as 
honorary secretary. The work of tliis union made members of, 
parliament a little more careful about handing over to private 
parties the right to the public resources. 

The defenders of civic rights were aided by many public 
men who raised the question of the effect on navigation of with- 
drawing such large amounts of water from a river which was \ 
not only a navigable channel but was an international boundary 

Another class who rose in protest against the private mono- 
poly of Niagara power was one whose influence could not be 
ignored because the question of profit or utility did not enter 
into their reasoning. This class comprised the artists, poets 
and lovers of nature who for three centuries had regarded these 
falls purely as a manifestation of the majesty and power of 
the Creator. The words of Tom Moore, the Irish poet who 
visited the falls in 1804, might he taken as an expression of 
the sentiments of this class : ‘‘ I felt as if approaching the 
residence of the Deity. . . . My whole heart and soul ascended 
towards the Divinity in a swell of devout admiration. Oh, 
bring the atheist here and he cannot return an atheist! I 
pity the man who can coldly sit down to write a description 
of these ineffable wonders; much more do I pity him who can 
submit them to the admeasurement of gallons and yards.” 



Various societies of artists, naturalists and scientists, peti- 
tioned the United States Congress and Canadian Parliament 
on these grounds and the result of the concentration of inte^e^t 
on the Niagara problem, was that in 1906-7 the question was 
referred by the two governments to the International Water- 
ways Commission to whom had been committed the amicable 
adjustment of difficulties arising out of navigation rights and 
the variation in lake levels. This body had already declared 
it to be in the best interests of the two countries that “ in all 
navigable waters the use for navigation purposes is of primary 
and paramount right.” The result of the Commission’s in- 
vestigations was a joint recommendation that while they were 
not fully agreed as to the effect of these diversions of water, 
no more than 36,000 cubic feet per second should be taken from 
tlie Canadian side and no more than 18,500 cubic feet from 
the United States’ side. This provided for the diversions per- 
mitted to the four companies on the Canadian side already 
referred to, with an allowance of 1,800 feet for the Welland 
Canal and its tenants; and, on the American side for the two 
before-named companies, with an allowance of 400 feet to the 
Erie Canal and its tenants. In the amount allowed on the 
United States’ side, account was taken of the 10,000 cubic feet 
per second diverted from the upper lakes by the Chicago drain- 
age canal. This made an apparent balance in favor of Canada, 
but as the early demand for power came more largely from the 
United States than Canada, permission had been given for the 
export from the Canadian companies of power amounting to 
a total of 160,000 horse power, equivalent to 12,000 cubic feet 
per second under Niagara conditions. These permits were 
revocable by the government, but as a matter of fact, thew^ 
export of current from the Canadian to the American side has 
been continued. That is the situation to-day and no permits • 
have since been given to private companies for the abstraction 
of water from these falls. (The Chippawa power works of 



the Hydro-Electric Commission are referred to in another 
chapter.) The principle acted on by the International Water- 
ways Commission has been qualifi('d by the treaty between 
Great Britain and the United States, ratified in 1909, and 
known as the International Boundary Waters Treaty, which ✓' 
lays down a rule that three primary considerations shall guide 
the re-organized Waterways Commission in disposing of such 
waters; these considerations to stand before all others in the 
order of their statement, as follows : — 

1. Uses for domestic or sanitary purposes. 

2. Uses for navigation, including the service of canals for 
purposes of navigation. 

3. Uses for power and for irrigation purposes. 

It will be noticed that no place is given in this Treaty to 
the claims of those who would preserve Niagara Falls, or any 
other boundary waters, for the sake of their attractions as a 
natural wonder. 

Prophets and preachers of the gospel of the public right- 
to the public resources, were found here and there among 
municipal officers, members of the legislature and the news- 
paper press, and by the time long distance transmission of 
electricity had begun to replace coal as a motive power their 
voices began to have an influence {>n public policy especially 
in the province of Ontario. The belief that an area of 150,000 - 
square miles of territory, having a total population at that 
time of over a million and a half, or nearly three-quarters of 
the inhabitants of the province, might be served from Niagara 
Falls alone, replacing steam-raised ])ower by a cheaper prime 
mover, would challenge the interest of manufacturers, merchants 
and city and rural communities alike. 

One important result of these discussions was the appoint- . 
ment of an investigating committee by the Board of Trade of 
Toronto, under the chairmanship of the late Walter E. H. 
Massey. This committee, reporting in April, 1900, expressed 



the opinion that while electrical power was not as important 
in procuring new industries for the city as was supposed, 
cheaper power would be a great boon, especially to the smaller 
manufacturer. Hence the committee suggested that measures 
should be taken to procure a connection with one of the com- 
panies operating at the Falls, especially as it was not to be 
expected that electrical power generated by steam could ever 
* be obtained much cheaper. The Toronto Electric Light Co. 
had signified its intention to bring power from one of the new 
generating companies organized at the Falls, and the question 
i occurred to the committee whether Toronto as a city should 
control the proposed Niagara Falls connection. “ This ” the 
committee concluded is a matter for consideration, and one 
on which your committee are not prepared to report at the 
present time, not having sufficient data at hand.” 

The report of this committee, whose chairman was known to 
have a strong interest in problems of social as well as industrial 
advancement, was soon to bear fruit. 

« 41 


Genesis of The Hydro-Electric Power Commission. — Reports of 

the First Commissions. 

After preliminary local discussions an informal convention 
was held in June, 1902, at the town of Berlin (now the City 
of Kitchener) the delegates comprising representatives from 
a number of cities and towns extending from the Niagara dis- 
trict as far north as Toronto and as far west as London. The 
last named city was represented by the mayor. This was Mr. 
Adam Beck (now Sir Adam Beck) who became the fearless 
champion of the public ownership of water powers, and whose 
Knight-errantry in this cause has so transformed public opinion 
within the last few vears that the davs of the domination of 
municipal affairs by private corporations may be said to be 

The chair was occupied by Mr. E. W. B. Snider, a manu- 
facturer of St. Jacobs, who afterwards became chairman of 
the first power commission of the province. 

There were two classes represented at the meeting : those 
who desired to obtain cheap power as manufacturers, and those 
who had the public service needs of the municipalities in mind; 
but both were unanimous in looking to Niagara as the only 
source of cheaper power. Alderman F. S. Spence of Toronto, 
one of the first and most consistent champions of the complete 
ownership of electrical distribution systems by the municipali- 
ties, first proposed that the municipalities should unite in asking 
the Ontario Government to appoint a government commission 
invested with power to arrange for the transmission of electrical 
energy to such cities, towns and villages as desired to take 
power. This commission, he suggested, would issue bonds to 



cover the cost of the transrnission lines, and these bonds would 
then be covered by the bonds of the participating municipalities 
and deposited with the commission. The municipalities would 
in effect, buy power from the commission, which would own the 
main lines and in turn sell power to manufacturers and while 
supplying power and light for municipal purposes would furnish 
light to the citizens at an even rate. This would prevent the 
power and lighting services from falling into the hands of 
private monopolies and would secure to the industries of the 
province the advantage of much cheaper electrical energy than 
was obtainable from private companies. 

Mr. C. H. Mitchell (now General Mitchell) then consulting 
engineer of the Ontario Power Co., was present by invitation. 
He informed the meeting that no power would be obtainable 
from Niagara Falls till October of the next year, but by that 
time his company would be able to deliver current to manu- 
facturing towns at $17 per h.p. per year for a 24-hour day. 
After various proposals were made — one of them being the 
formation of a joint stock company by the manufacturers of 
the different towns for their common purpose and incidentally 
the supply of light and power for general use — the meeting 
adjourned and in July another meeting of representatives of 
these municipal councils was held at Berlin. Messrs. E. W. B. 
Snider, D. B. Detweiler, of Berlin, who had acted as secretary, 
and F. S. Spence, of Toronto, were, at this meeting, appointed 
a committee to obtain information. The committee reported 
to a meeting held in Berlin, February 17th, 1903. So strong 
had become the public interest in the movement that at this 
meeting about ninety municipalities and individual manufac- 
turers were represented, including Toronto, Stratford, London, 
St. Thomas, Woodstock, Ingersoll, Guelph, Hamilton, St. 
Catharines, Brantford, Waterloo, Galt, Berlin, St. Mary’s, St. 
Jacobs, Bridgeport, etc. 



The committee reported their belief that power could be 
obtained, delivered at Niagara Falls at $7 or $8 per continuous 
horse power per year; or from $14 to $15 delivered to the 
various towns concerned. The committee recommended an 
application to the legislature for authority to develop, transmit, 
buy and sell electrical energy and to permit the municipalities 
to co-operate to distribute the same. After discussion the 
following resolution was submitted by Mayor Urquhart, of 

Toronto: rx i. • 

That we respectfully urge upon the government of Ontario 

the advisability of the government building and operating as a 
government work, lines for the transmission of electricity from 
Niagara Falls to the towns and cities of Ontario, or that they 
extend the powers of the present Niagara Falls Park Com- 
mission so that they may as a public work build and operate 
the necessary lines to transmit electric energy from Niagara 
Falls, and that for this purpose they be empowered to issue 
debentures which might be guaranh'ed by the government but 
which would eventually be paid out of the receipts from the 
sale of electrical energy, thus entailing no charge on the pro- 
vincial funds, and that the municipalities here represented call 
their representatives in the legislature to urge on the govern- 
ment to carry out this resolution. After an amendment striking 
out the reference to the park commission the resolution was 
adopted, along with another resolution asking the government 
not to part with any more power privileges to private parties. 

The subject of Niagara power (Continued to be agitated in 
the towns and villages represented at the first conferences. The 
council of Guelph demanded, and afterwards acquired, posses- 
sion of the electric lighting plant hitherto carried on there by 
a private companv. In the case of Toronto there was a strong 
movement in favor of obtaining a transmission line direct to 
Toronto for the purposes of that city alone, and in January, 
1903, application was actually made to the legislature for the 




right to generate and transmit Niagara power. IVhile the 
application was before the legislature, a joint meeting of a 
committee of the city council and a committee of the Toronto 
branch of the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association was held 
at which Mr. P. Judson, engineer of a company known as the 
Hamilton & Lake Erie Power Co., offered to supply the city 
with 30,000 h.p. at $20 per horse power delivered in the city, 
or $10 per h.p. if the city built its own transmission lines. The 
company proposed to obtain its power by drawing water from 
the IVelland River, diverting it into the Jordan creek and 
bringing it to the same escarpment which gives the fall to the 
Niagara, but at a point some miles to the west where a drop 
of 100 feet more than at Niagara could be obtained. The 
scheme was still-born but a similar proposition to develop power 
near DeCew’s falls was carried through as will be recorded. 

The Ontario legislature refused the application of Toronto 
on the ground that the city had no matured plan for exercising 
the powers asked for, but the refusal was no doubt influenced — 
apart from the efforts of the private corporations to choke off 
competition — by the objections of other municipalities where 
the people held that if Toronto were to have its independent 
line they would be handicapped in financing a separate system 
for relatively small communities. Members of the government, 
including the premier, Hon. Geo. W. Ross, took the stand that 
the financial obligations involved both in the Toronto proposi- 
tion and in the plan proposed at the conference in Berlin were 
for the benefit of that section within electrical reach of Niagara, 
and that the whole province should not be called on to subsidize 
one section, thus giving it an industrial advantage over other 
regions beyond transmission distance. 

Wihile the legislature was thus putting Toronto and the 
other municipalities to such a test as to “ a matured scheme ” 
as was not applied to private corporations, we find that at this 

tiiUQ the owners of the Toronto and Mimico Railway Co. 



(electric) was applying for power to extend its line to Hamilton ; 
and the Toronto Electric Light Co. was making application 
for the sole right to power on the Canadian side of the Niagara. 
The Union of Municipalities opposed this and obtained the 

support of civic corporations as far away as Winnipeg. 

Events were now moving fast, and the light of Niagara was 
beginning to penetrate the legislative chamber at Toronto. 
Led by Aid. Spence, the Toronto council now threw in its lot 
unreservedly with the other civic bodies, whose next meeting 
was held in that city in February, 1903. Aid. Spence declared 
that what the cities and towns wanted was cheap power, and 
it- seemed to him that municipal ownership under government 
control was the best means of obtaining it. Other speakers 
reported that the towns of this region were more deeply in- 

p terested than ever. • • j 

i A large delegation from the municipalities now interviewed 

i' the premier and found him more disposed to consider their 

claims. Discontent with his administration on other grounds 
probably had its influence in this change of attitude. Mr 
Snider, of St. Jacobs, pointed out the loss that would ensue if 
these towns were to struggle on with the high cost of steam- 
raised power while other places had the advantage of power at 
half the cost. It was estimated that 20,000 to 25,000 h.p. cou 
be ilsed by these towns, exclusive of Hamilton and Toronto. 
If the government would not go on with the work the next 
best thing was to allow the municipalities to do it. Aid. Spence 
reminded the premier that the government had spent large 
sums in developing the mineral resources of the province, and 
rightly; but the mineral resources may one day be exhausted, 
while the resource of Niagara power may be deemed to be 
"eternal. If this resource were placed in the hands of the peop c 
the aim would he to secure their largest possible use at the 
lowest cost; and he was confident that if their plan were carried 



out the present cost of power would be cut in two. He suggested 
the municipal co-operative plan under a commission of three 
to five men; and to prevent the distribution plan from being 
held up, authority should be given to enable them to develop 
power also. 

In reply. Premier Ross said he was informed that the power 
now provided for at Niagara could not be used for a quarter 
of a century to come. The government could not directly 
undertake the scheme but, with the assistance of those con- 
cerned, would bring in a bill enabling the municipalities to 
carry out their plan. 

The government was more seriously concerned with the 
power question when the leader of the opposition, Mr. James 
P. Whitney, in a speech at Newmarket at this time, protested 
that the granting of a third power franchise at Niagara was 
all wrong, as was the unrestricted export of the power already 
developed. As for the argument that this was a matter of 
sectional advantage, the premier forgot that large sums had 
been devoted to the development of New Ontario, yet the whole 
province was asked to pay for it. Mr. Whitney held that the 
government should investigate the problem of supplying power 
to all places within 150 miles of Niagara, or appoint a com- 
mission to provide the means of enabling the Union of Munici- 
palities to do so. 

To bring some fresh light to bear on the question of public 
ownership the government, in May, appointed a special com- 
mittee to report on the municipal ownership or operation of 
public utilities. Mr. Avern Pardoe, now librarian of the Legis- 
lative Library, was appointed secretary and his report was the 
most comprehensive compilation of information on the subject 
up to this time in Canada. In it appeared the first return of 
the municipal activities of the province and this has been main- 
tained annually since as the report on the Reproductive 





Undertakings of Ontario Municipalities.” This report though 
incomplete showed that 126 municipalities in Ontario were now 
operating their own waterworks, electric light and gas works, 
the majority of these services having been taken over within the 

preceding ten years.* 

With these evidences of the trend of public opinion before 
them the government at least made good its promise, and in 
June of this year passed an act for the Construction of 
Municipal Power Works and the Transmission, Distribution and 
Supply of Electrical and other Power and Energy.” It gave 
any two or more municipalities the authority to appoint com- 
missioners to examine into and report upon the establishment 
of works for producing power, heat and light, the probable 
cost and desirability of the undertaking and the proportion 
of cost to he borne by each of the contracting bodies. It 
conferred on the municipalities the power to act on the report 
of the commissioners and to establish the works under a Board 
of Commissioners to be nominated by the Chief Justice of 
Ontario. The Board would have the power to acquire or con- 
struct works for generating, transmitting and distributing 
electricity, or other power, and fix the rates to be charged in 
each case. Finally, authority was given for the issue of bonds 
for carrying out such works; and the Act directed that in the 
event of such commission being appointed the commissioners 
should report to the appointing municipalities particulars as 
to the power required and consumed, the capital cost and 
operating costs, with the share of each, rates, etc., and that 
before action, the proposal should be submitted to a vote of 

the electors through a by-law. 

Under the provisions of this Act representatives of seven 

report by Leo G. Denis, Hydro-Electric Engineer of the Com- 
mission of Conservation, on “ Electric Generation and Distribution in 
Canada,” published in 1918, shows that of the 752 electrical distribution 
systems in Canada 389, or more than half, are now municipally owned. 



municipalities— To ronto, Lo ndon, Brantford^ Bliatford, Wood- 
stock, Tnger soll and Guelph — met in Toronto in August, 1903, 
and appohited an investigating commission composed of Messrs. 
E. W. B. Snider, of St. Jacobs; (chairman), P. W. Ellis, of 
Toronto; W. F. Cockshutt, Brantford; Adam Beck, London; 
and R. A. Fessenden, electrical engineer, of Washington, D.C. 
J. C. Haight, barrister, of Waterloo, acted as hon. secretary. 
All the commissioners gave their services free, except for a 
nominal fee paid to Prof. Fessenden. Messrs. Ross & Holgate, 
engineers, of Montreal, who were appointed to make the tech- 
nical investigations, gave their services at cost. The fund for 
the investigation was provided, not by the Provincial Govern- 
ment, but by municipal subscriptions amounting to $16,000, 
of which Toronto contributed $11,756, and London $1,542. 

No statistics of power consumption were then available, but 
Mr. Ross opened an office in Toronto, and a staff of engineers 
was organized under Arthur V. White* to canvass from factory 
to factory, to explain the advantages of conversion from steam 
to hydro-electric power, and to learn to what extent the power 
users would co-operate in the movement. In addition to the 
prejudice of many steam users who did not admit the superi- 
ority of electric power, and who imagined that the winter s 
heating which they got from the exhaust-steam of their engine 
cost them nothing, it was found that many firms had recently 
been tied up in long-term contracts with the electric company. 

Meantime the investigations under Mr. Cecil B. Smith, to 
be referred to hereafter, were proceeding in the wider field 
outside of Toronto and carried on with such speed and energy 
that the two reports were given to the interested municipalities 
and to the public within a few days of each other in March, 


Dealing with the criticism anticipated from opponents of 
public ownership, the commissioners, in their comments on 

* Now Consulting Engineer to the Commission of Conservation. 



the Ross & Holgate figures, said : “ Thf! basal fact that power 
and light can be supplied under a municipal development, 
properly carried out, under engineering conditions equal to 
those of its competitors, at prices beyond the reach of permanent 
commercial competition, is not open to argument. Competing 
(private) companies have to pay higher interest rates on their 
bonded debt, and in addition they have large issues of capital 
stock on which dividends have to be earned. Whether rates be 
fixed by the companies voluntarily or under Government regu- 
lation, regard must be paid to these conditions and the rates 
loaded accordingly. No criticism directed at isolated facts or 
figures will alter these broad underlying conditions, from which 
the general public will derive benefits otherwise unattainable.” 
The commissioners did not think private companies could 
complain of municipal competition, for the private trader and 
manufacturer has to face the risks of loss and the competition 
of rival businesses, and expects no indemnity from the conse- 
quences of this competition. Moreover, the industrial future 
of the province depended on the leverage of the new power. 

In conclusion, the commissioners recommended that the 
municipal development be carried out, and suggested a fourth 
site in the Niagara Falls Park for the proposed installation, 
which would require two or three years to complete. 

While the work of this commission was being discussed, 
before the actual publication of its report, a new election was 
held, resulting in the defeat of the Government, and the advent 
to power of the opposition leader, Hon. James P. Whitney, 
who had been a strong opponent of the private monopoly of the 
water powers. During the campaign preceding the election, 
he had said that Niagara power should be as “ free as the air,” 
and this expression was scoffed at by the power magnates as 
a proof that the idea of public ownership was utterly visionary. 
What Mr. Whitney meant, as he explained, was not that Niagara 
power would cost nothing to develop, but that the opportunity 



for its use should be available on equal terms and free from 
the exactions of private monopolists. On coming into office 
he lost no time in demonstrating his sincerity regarding the 
hydraulic power question.* The result was that the first muni- 
cipal power Act was repealed, and on the 5th of July, 1905, 
an Act was passed creating a “ Hydro-Electric Power Com- 
mission of Ontario.” 

Mr. Adam Beck, Mayor of London, had been elected to 
represent that city in the Legislature, and having, as a member 
of the investigating commission, made an earnest study of the- 
problem, was invited to become a member of the Cabinet, for 
the purpose of working out a power policy for the province. 
As a large manufacturer, he was familiar with the industrial 
requirements, and by his experience in municipal affairs he 
had gained a thorough understanding of the huge obstacles 
to be overcome before complete co-operation could be attained 
among the municipalities. In choosing as chairman of the 
commission a man of such experience and of such abounding 
energy and steadiness of purpose, the judgment of the new 
premier was to be amply justified by public opinion. Mr. 
George Pattinson, of Preston, also a member of the Legislature, 
and Mr. P. W. Ellis, of Toronto, were the other commissioners. 

The demand that the great water powers of Canada should 
be controlled in the public interest now became general. Not 
one Niagara, but many Niagaras, could be dealt with. The 
commission met this demand in a statesmanlike way. It secured 
the services of Mr. Cecil B. Smith, a young Canadian engineer 
of great ability, who had been resident engineer of the Canadian 
Niagara Power Co., and under his direction a great public 
service was rendered to the province by a comprehensive survey 

* On taking office, Sir James Whitney found an agreement prepared 
by the late Government, but not yet officially executed, giving another 
125,000 horse power to the Electrical Development Co., at Niagara Falls. 
Sir James promptly repudiated this proposition. 



of the water power resources of the more settled regions of 
Ontario. Five reports were issued in succession within about 
a year. The first report covered the region from Niagara Falls 
westward to the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers, and reaching to 
Toronto on the north ; the second the Trent district, so called, 
north of Lake Ontario and embracing the water sheds of the 
Trent and Moira Rivers; the third report dealt with the counties 
whose rivers chiefly flowed into Lake Huron and Georgian 
Bay; the fourth report treated of the Lower Ottawa and Upper 
St. Lawrence regions, comprising .the eastern counties of the 
province ; while the fifth considered in a general way the water 
powers of the great, but as yet sparsely settled territory in the 
districts of Algoma, Thunder Bay and Rainy River to the north 
and east of Lake Superior. 

The reports of the investigating (Commissions were exten- 
sively quoted in the newspapers and discussed by boards of 
trade and other public bodies. The two reports, while differing 
in details and in methods of computation, agreed in the main as 
to the market that could be created for power and the savings 
that might be made by a wisely administered co-operative 
system compared with the private company service. These 
publications made a deep impression, as the data on which the 
reports were based came from hydraulic and electrical engineers 

of undoubted standing. 

In one paragraph of the report of the Hydro-Electric Power 
Commission, it was stated that the tendency with private cor- 
porations was “ to amalgamate or otherwise destroy competition, 
and then fix the price according to the slight saving which they 
may be able to induce particular customers to make. The 
natural result of this has been to force individual power con- 
sumers, where the circumstances justified it, to instal generating 
plants of their own, rather than to place themselves at the 
mercy of large combinations formed for the purpose of prevent- 
ing competition. The same result, of course, occurs where there 



has never been a competing company. Specific illustrations of 
this are found in the cities of Montreal, Buffalo and Hamilton. 
On the other hand, in the City of Ottawa, where the muni- 
cipality secured a distributing plant, in anticipation of an 
attempt to throttle competition by a combination of companies, 
lower prices prevail, based on the cost of production.” 

A staff of seven hydraulic and electrical engineers was 
organized by the new commission to make a survey of the water 
powers developed and undeveloped in the districts mentioned, 
and to report the present and prospective demand for hydro- 
electric power; to estimate the capacity of the water powers 
and the capital cost of their development including cost of 
transmission lines to the various centres of consumption; the 
prices that would require to be charged to cover the cost of 
operation and maintenance; and to estimate the savings to 
consumers compared with prices now charged. The commis- 
sioners were also asked to obtain information regarding exist- 
ing private developments such as their cost and the rates 
charged. A canvass was made by expert assistants in each 
town and district, and by this means it was learned how many 
of the present users of power would adopt electricity if available 
at a saving in cost. An immense amount of information was 
gathered in these reports, which constituted the first hydro- 
electric power census of Ontario. Comparisons were also made 
between hydro-electric power and steam-generated power or 
gas power, so that the municipalities in each sub-division of a 
district might know the bearing of a hydro-electric system upon 
their own particular needs. 

As already stated, there were seven municipalities that had 
undertaken to become the nucleus of the projected system taking 
power from Niagara, and the figures gathered by Messrs. Ross 
& Holgate indicated that the total present consumption was 
73,631 h.p., which might be increased to about 88,000 h.p. in 
the next two years; but the net present consumption — tha^ 


is the total which the operating commission could expect from 
power users who had no special reason for retaining steam for 
heating and industrial uses combined with power purposes — 
was only a little more than 55,000 h.p. There were eleven other 
civic corporations along or near the lines of the seven, and if 
these eleven joined the movement the cost to the seven would 
be somewhat reduced. On a hundred thousand horse power de- 
velopment the co-operative system with a membership of eighteen 
municipalities would realize the following savijigs from the 
prices then being paid to the private companies: arc lighting, 
45 per cent.; incandescent lighting, 21 per cent.; industrial 
motive power, 69 per cent.; other motive power, 77 per cent. 
In this estimate interest at 4^ per cent., and a 40 year sinking 
fund was charged against the municipalities. With a 60,000 
h.p. plant the rates that should be charged for motor service 
would vary from $15.73 per year in the case of Toronto, to 
$23.87 in the most distant city, London; whereas the existing 
cost for steam power varied from $24 to $111 a year per h.p., 
according to the size of the generating plant. 

In the first report of the Hydro-Ehictric Power Commission, 
dealing with Niagara, it w^as estimated that the cost of incandes- 
cent lighting would be reduced, on commercial incandescent 
lighting from 12 cents per kilowatt hour as charged by the private 
lighting company, to 6 cents, and on residential lighting from 8 
cents to 5 cents per kilow^att hour. The private company’s motor 
rates in Toronto, it was found by this commission, varied from 
$51 to $180 per h.p. for a 10-hour service, where the commis- 
sion’s scheme would reduce it to rates varying from $22.50 to 
$45, according to plan adopted. I'he private company in 
Buffalo, using Niagara Falls power, was then charging rates 
for motor service varying from $27.71 to $117, and, for lighting, 
prices ranging from 4 cents to 12 cents per kilowatt hour. 
In Montreal, when two companies were competing, the rates 
charged for motor service were $50 per h.p., but when one 



company absorbed the other these rates went up to figures 
ranging from $45 per h.p. for a 50 h.p. motor to $120 per h.p., 
and incandescent lighting rates jumped from I 21/2 cents to 
141/2 cents per kilowatt hour. The commission estimated that 
if Niagara power were distributed in Toronto on the cost basis 
suggested, the saving to that city would amount to $684,000 
a year. 

In the agreement with the Park Commission the companies 
each bound themselves to make half-yearly returns of the power 
generated and sold, but on visiting Niagara Falls the Hydro- 
Electric Power Commission found that no such returns had ever 
been made to the Park Commissioners or the Government. The 
Canadian Niagara Power Co. and the Hamilton Cataract 
Power Co. now gave the commissioners the returns asked for, 
but the Electrical Development Co. and the Ontario Power Co. 
refused to give any information, or give any reason for the 
refusal. The companies were bound also, on request, to make 
a return to the Government of the prices charged, but the 
request had not been made and the two companies declined to 
enlighten the commissioners on this point. No appraisement 
of these plants was made as the works were in different stages 
of construction, but the sections then partially completed had 
a combined capacity of 150,000 h.p. for delivery, and this was 
considered more than enough for any demand likely to arise in 
Ontario in the near future. The Ontario companies were, in 
fact, looking to the industries on the New York side for a, 
market for power ; and few of those on either side concerned with 
the business dreamed that hydro-electric power would of itself, 
in a few years, create electro-chemical industries which could 
absorb more power than the whole of the Niagara companies 
could then furnish. Nor did they anticipate that these power 
resources would cause Niagara Falls to grow in population from 
about 1'9,000 in 1900 to a city of 60,000 in 1920; and that 
the Ontario town of Niagara Falls, though later in feeling the 






electrical impulse, would develop from a few hundreds to a 
present population of over 14,000, with a corresponding in- 
fluence on neighboring cities and towns. If these neighboring 
cities and towns, such as St. Cathariiies, Thorold, Merritton, 
Welland, Port Erie, Bridgeburg and Port Colborne, all within 
fifteen miles of the Niagara River, are taken into account, the 
urban population of the district is about 50,000. At this time 
the Canadian Niagara Power Co. was only generating about 
17,000 h.p., of which 15,000 h.p. was sold to the Niagara Falls 
Power Co. on the New York side. The Ontario Power Co. 
was not yet ready to deliver the first units of the 30,000 h.p. 
which it had contracted for in New York state. The Electrical 
Development Co. were installing its first 50,000 h.p. for Toronto, 
imt this would not be ready till 1907. 

While the two commissions were in substantial agreement 
as to the advantages of municipal control of the distribution 
systems, there was an important difference in their judgment 
of the methods of attaining the end. The Hydro-Electric 
Power Commission estimated that it would require four year^ 
to complete a plant at the only commendable site available and 
consequently advised that the municipalities should build their 
own transmission lines and purchase the power that was then 
begging for customers. The Hon. Mr. Beck had declared that 
he was not antagonistic to capital nor to private corporations, 
and the fact that the commission soon afterwards made a con- 
tract with the Ontario Power Co. for 100,000 h.p. verified his 
statement. It was the unbridged gulf between the cost of 
service for public purposes and the rates actually charged, that 
determined the municipalities to go forward. At a large public 
meeting in Toronto, on the 10th April, 1906, it was reported 
from Fort William that that city was obtaining electric power 
at $15 per h.p., and the town of Orillia reported to the same 
meeting that its municipally owned hydro-electric plant was 
selling power to Orillia manufacturers at $16 per h.p. per year. 



On the following day a deputation numbering nearly a thou- 
sand, and representing seventy municipalities from Sarnia on 
the west to Kingston on the east, waited on Premier W hitney 
urging Government action. The Premier said the difficulties 
were great but the Government was not frightened at this, 
and would undertake either the transmission of electricity or 
the control of the prices to be charged, so that the interest of 

the people should not be sacrificed. 

A brake was already being prepared on the uncontrolled 
exploitation of Niagara power, for on the very day of this 
deputation’s conference with the Ontario premier in Toronto, 
a bill was introduced in the United States Congress, known as 
the Burton Act, ostensibly for the preservation of the beauty 
of the Falls, but in reality to stop further diversions of water 
at the Falls until the United States and Canada might agree 
on a common policy. By this Act the import of power from 
Canada to the United States was prohibited, the prohibition not 
applying, however, to power already being transmitted or con- 
tracted for. From that time no new company has been allowed 
to alienate these international waters for priA'ate advantage, 
although numerous charters were taken out. 



The Situation at Hamilton. 

Brief reference was made in Chapter VI to the Cataract 
Power Co. (now the Dominion Power and Transmission Co.) 
of Hamilton. As early as 1897, this Company transmitted 
power from a point near DeCew’s Falls to Hamilton, 35 miles. 
The installation consisted of only one penstock operating two 
units of 3,000 h.p. in all, but it was the greatest feat in long 
i distance transmission at that period east of the Rocky Moun- 

f| tains, and required types of machinery not hitherto used. The 

b highest voltage then used was 10,000, but this company raised 

i it to 20,000 volts. Water drawn from the Welland ’Canal at 

‘ Allanburg was at first carried by a viaduct over the Beaver 

1 Dam Creek, but by a happy thought of the engineer, 800 acres 

of land were purchased and converted at very small expense 
i into a storage dam containing several small lakes, some of them 

• 40 feet deep, and the power was then obtainable with a fall of 

I 265 feet. This gave seven units, with a total of 52,000 horse 

I power, and made one of the most economical installations on 

the continent. It was this advantage which enabled the com- 
pany to give attractive prices to the citizens of Hamilton, 
f Grimsby and other places, and yet make such profits as to 

enable it to acquire control of the light and power services of 
^ Hamilton, Brantford, Oakville, etc., and of the systqm of 

; radial electric railways centring in Hamilton, some of which 

had been independently started wdth steam power. These 
amalgamations were the more easily accomplished as the men 
in one company were shareholders in the other companies. It 
was alleged that the Hamilton Cataract Power Co. could gen- 
erate profitably at $4.50 per h.p., and consequently it was 


hardly expected that tlie Commission could offer much advantage 
in prices to the citizens of Hamilton and Brantford, to which 
city the Hamilton Cataract Co. had also extended, obtaining 
a franchise for both the lighting and power service, and for the 
street railway and the electric line to Hamilton. The scope 
of this company’s financial ramifications may be seen from the 
fact that, stage by stage, it obtained control of fourteen com- 
panies engaged in public utilities in and around the Niagara 
Peninsula, among which were; The Hamilton Electric Light 
and Power Co., The Hamilton Street Railway Co., Hamilton 
and Dundas Street Railway Co., Hamilton, Grimsby and Beams- 
ville Electric Railway Co., Brantford and Hamilton Electric 
Railway Co., the Western Counties Electric Co. of Biantford, 
the Dundas Electric Railway Co., Lincoln Electric Light & 
Power Co. of St. Catharines, the Welland Electrical Co. of 
Welland, and the Hamilton Radial Electric Railway Co., ex- 
tending to Oakville and originally designed to go through to 
Toronto. With the mastery of public services for these cities 
and towns, and the monopoly of primary power at such low 
costs, the company could have supplied Hamilton and Brantford 
at unprecedentedly low rates and yet have a good surplus. Yet 
when the Commission came into the field, the citizens of 
Hamilton were paying ten cents per kilowatt hour, the com- 
mercial users fifteen cents per kilowatt hour, besides a meter 
charge, and the city was charged $84 per year for each arc 
lamp. No reduction was made till tenders were asked from the 
Commission, which estimated the cost of arc lamps at $43 a 
year. Then the company dropped the price to $47 a year, but 
fixed up a five-year contract with the city. Later the city 
asked for tenders for power for pumping and sewage, and when 
the Commission’s tender was found to be $17.50, compared 
with $45 from the company, the latter came back with an offer 
to supply any municipality wdth service at ten per cent, below 
the rates of the Commission, whatever those rates might be. 


I'iM * 


Tlie logic of this experience was not lost upon the citizens of 
Hamiltoig and in 1911 it was decided by vote of the ratepayers 
that when the contract with the company expired the city would 
get its power from the Commission and own its own distribu- 
tion system. The sum of $505,000 was voted for the purpose, 
and in the face of injunctions and other legal actions designed 
to thwart the new policy, the city hydro system was adopted in 
January, 1912. It began operations in 1913 with only five 
customers of all classes; now it has 15,450 customers for 
domestic lighting, 16,664 customers in the commercial class, 
and 530 customers for electric power. 

In 1913 the Commission’s charge for power in Hamilton 
was $17 per annum; now it is $14, and the rates for house 
lighting average a little less than 1 1-3 cents per kilowatt hour, 
with no meter charge, compared with 8 cents, plus 25 cents a 
month meter rent, which was charged by the private company 
just before the Commission’s system was established. 


The Permanent Poiver Commission and its Constitution. 

The result of discussions in the press, and of further educa- 
tional campaigns of Hon. Adam Beck and many other public 
men, was that the Government determined to give the muni- 
cipalities the opportunity they sought. Under authority ol 
an Act of the legislature, a second commission, which became 
the permanent Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario, 
was appointed in May^^^^l£06^ Hon. Adam Beck, head of the 
com mission of 19QC -was~~appointed chairman of this commis- 
sion, the other members being Hon. John S. Hendrie (after- 
wards Lieutenant-Governor), and Cecil B. Smith, civil 
engineer. Owing to the demands of his professional business, 
Mr. Smith resigned a year afterwards, and his place was taken 
by the late \Y. K. McNaught, who remained a faithful member 

till his death. 

The Hon. Isaac B. Lucas, who succeeded Sir John Hendrie, 
and who is, therefore, the oldest member, next to Sir Adam 
Beck, of the Commission as now constituted, is the son of a 
pioneer settler in Lambton County. He was born in 1867. 
After leaving Strathroy Collegiate Institute, he took up the 
study of law, became a barrister in 1889, and was made K.C. 
in 1908. He became head of the law firm of Lucas, Wright & 
McArdle, of Owen Sound and Markdale; also a partner in the 
legal firm of Mills, Raney & Co., of Toronto. He was elected 
to the Ontario Legislature in 1898 as member for Centre Grey, 
and was re-elected at five successive elections. He was ap- 
pointed chairman of the Private Bills Committee in 1907 under 
the administration of Sir James Whitney, and continued such 
until the defeat of the Hearst administration. In 1909 Mr, 


1 - 






Lucas became a member of the cabinet without portfolio. He 
was appointed Provincial Treasurer in 1912, and upon the 
death of Sir James Whitney he became Attorney-General in 
1914. From 1914 to 1919 he had charge of hydro-electric 
legislation in the House, being from the first-named date the 
Government member of the Commission. In these years he 
piloted the hydro legislation through more than one crisis, 
and the Montreal Gazette, an opponent of public ownership, 
referred to him as “ a man of unusual ability.” 

Colonel the Hon. Dougald Carmichael, now Government 
representative on the Commission, was one of the many new men 
who were returned in the election of 1919 to form the Farmer’s 
Party and Labor Party in Ontario. After passing through the 
public school, he attended the Collegiate Institute at Colling- 
wood, but his father, a Grey County farmer, died when Dougald 
was yet a lad. He was, therefore, not able to continue his 
education, but became a father to his younger brothers in the 
management of the farm. He remained on the farm till 1915, 
when he joined the Canadian army and went overseas as 
captain in the 58th Battalion. His brother, a physician, who 
joined at the same time, met death in the war. His only 
sister also joined as an army nurse. With his company he 
went into the trenches in 1916, and in the same year, during 
the third battle of Ypres, he was made a company commander. 
During the fighting around Cambrai he was made Colonel of 
the 116th Battalion. He received the M.C. for the part he 
took in the trench raids by the Canadians in February, 1917, 
and in the fighting in July of the same year was awarded a 
bar with the Military Cross. At Amiens he was awarded the 
D.S.O. and the bar was added to this in the last great battle 
of Cambrai. His name was frequently mentioned in the 
despatches. He was wounded at Amiens and again at Cambrai, 
both being hospital cases. Colonel Carmichael had the respect 
and affection of his men to an unusual degree, because of his 





- fearlessness in leading in any situation of danger. He did not 
anter politics out of preference, but the name he had won 
during the war made him the natural choice of the farmeis 
of his riding. Colonel Carmichael is looked upon as a man who 
will be careful in forming his judgments, and on this account 
and because of his industry and patience, he is regarded as a 
valuable addition to the Commission. ^ 

A brief biographical sketch of Sir Adam Beck appears in 

another chapter. 

The first Powct. Com mission Act of 1903. was considered 
unworkable, partly because it had the effect of encouraging 
the establishment of local commissions in such a loose way that 
their plans could not be brought into one unified scheme. The 
municipalities had not yet learned to pull together, and there 
were sectional jealousies and suspicions which required time 
and experience to overcome. 

The substitute Act of 1906, passed by the administra- 
tion, was'^also an imperfect instrument for the work of the 
Commission, for Hi^o^^olientr'cff ownership stirred 


up the councils and other interests to attack the val idity of 
thejiy-laws under which the seven origin al municipalities 
entered the co-operative union. The Act was revised at the 
next session" of the LigtsTatuFe, the defective by-laws being 
specifically validated, and, after subsequent amendments, the 
Act oQ 9 0.7- became the' charter of the Power Commission. 
‘*^Thh^t creates a body corporate under the name of “ The 
Hydro-Electpic Po'^^ Commission of Ontario,” consisting of 
three commissioners, two oF whbnYmay he' members, and one of 
whom shall be a 'member, of the Provincial Cabinet. The 
Lieutenant-Governor in council may appoint the chairman. ^ 
Two members shall form a quorum. The commissioners hold 
office during pleasure,^ and the Lieutenant-Governor may make 
appointments to fill vacancies. 




The Commission has power to appoint its own engineers, 
officers, and staff of emploj’ees, and to fix their salaries, subject 
to ratification by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council. 

Ihe Commission may, by report to the Lieutenant-Governor 
m Council, designate any lands, waters or waterpowers, includ- 
ing the plant pertaining to such property, which in the opinion 
of the Commission should be acquired or leased; and on such 
report the Lieutenant-Governor may authorize the Commission 
to acquire by purchase, lease or otherwise; and to carry on 
such work for the transmission, supply and distribution of 
electiical power, entering upon private property or removing 
trees or other obstructions for such purposes; and may contract 
\\ ith any corporation or private person for the supply of elec- 
tiical energy to the Commission. The procedure for exercising 
such powers shall be as under the Public AVorks Act. 

When called upon by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, 
the Commission shall investigate water powers and report as to 
their capacity and value, such report to be laid before the 
Legislative Assembly at its next session. 

On the application of any municipal corporation for 
electrical power, the Commission shall furnish to the applicant 
a statement of the maximum price per horse power at which 
energy will be supplied, and an estimate of the cost of the 
transmission lines required, and may furnish plans and speci- 
fications, with estimates of cost for the necessary distribution 
works. The local municipality may then enter into a provi- 
sional contract with the Commission, but this contract shall 
not be binding till a by-law has been passed by the municipality, 
when a permanent contract may be made, after approval by tlie 
Lieutenant-Governor in Council. By-laws for raising money 
may be submitted at the same time as the by-law for the 
contract. The municipality is not restricted in its rights 
under the general municipal acts by reason of its contract witli, 
the Commission. 




A contracting municipality may, with the consent of the 
Commission, supply power to a person or corporation outside of 
its own bounds, if no objections are raised by the municipality 


The Commission may supply power to a railway or other 
corporation or person (using the railway right of VfAy for the 
purpose), but any net profit under §uch contract* shall be 
applied to the maintenance of the work of the Commission in 


The cost of the work undertaken by the Commission for a 
municipality shall be repayable to the Commission. 

The price per horse power payable by any municipality 
shall be the price of the power to the Commission at the point 
of development or of its delivery to the Commission, and the 
municipality shall pay its proportion of the following charges, 
as adjusted by the Commission ; (a) Interest at 4 per cent, on 
money expended by the Commission in construction oi pni- 
chase; (&) An annual sum sufficient to form in 30 or 40 years 
a sinking fund to retire the securities issued by the province 
under the Act; and (c) Line loss and cost of opeiation, supei- 
vision, repairs, renewals and insurance of works. 

The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may raise by loan, on 

the credit of the province, the sums requisite for the purposes 

of the Act, such sums to be paid over to the Commission and 

accounted for and audited as in the management of tin 

public accounts; the receipts by the Commission to be paid 

over to the Provincial Treasurer for the retirement of the 



Any complaint in writing from an individual or corporation 
that the rates charged under these contracts are unfair or 
excessive, may be made to the secretary of the Commission, 
and the matter of the complaint may be determined by the 
Commission, and such order given as meets the case, the 
commissioner-judge in such cases having authority as conferred 




under the “ Act respecting Enquiries concerning Public 
Matters.” The penalty for refusing to abide by the decision is 
$100 a day. 

The text of section 23 reads : “ \\ ithout the consent of the 
Attorney-General no action shall be brought against the Com- 
mission or against any member thereof for anything done or 
omitted in the exercise of his office.” Neither the Commission 
nor province is held liable for any error in estimates or speci- 
fications of work furnished by the Commission. 

Further amending Acts have been made from year to year, 
as defects were revealed in operation. The of 1908 con- 
firmed the contracts made with the Ontario Power Co. and 
authorized a form of contract *between the Commission and the 
corporations acting under it. The Act of 190a abated litigation 
attacking the by-laws and contracts,*^ave a municipality auth- 
ority to act on a plebiscite instead of a by-law, and empowered 
the Commission to obtain easements to construct and maintain 
transmission lines. The Amending Act of 1910 conferred on 
the Commission the powers of ‘‘eminent domain,” as possessed 
by railways, to take possession of land with or without the 
owners’ consent, for the erection of transmission lines and 
W'orks, claims for damage to be settled as provided by the 
Ontario Public Works Act. Amendments of 1911 enabled per- 
sons outside the contracting municipaliti^ to obtain electric 
power from the Commission direct without a general contract 
from the municipality, on payment of the cost by the applicant. 
Another amending Act of the same year gives the Commission 
authority to decide upon the use of highways by more than one 
corporation, private company or individual, for erecting lines 
or works, and the Commission may define the conditions 
necessary to prevent injury resulting from construction of such 
works, the initiating corporation to be at the expense of such 
works, and provision for arbitration to be as under The Muni- 
cipal Act. Nothing done by the Commission under this 



amending Act shall be open to question or review in any court ; 

and no court shall have authority to grant an injunction or 

other restraining order hindering the construction or operation 

of any works, the location and mode of building which have 

been carried out as approved by the Commission. The Act of 

1912 made it more clear that powers of eminent domain shall 

be conferred on the Commission should it desire to enter on or ^ 

take possession of any lands on which a water power privilege 

is situated, and to construct any works for power, or to flood 

lands if necessary, to build storage dams, and such powers may . 

be exercised through a local municipality with whom the Com; 

mission has a contract. In the same connection the Commission 

takes power to expropriate an existing plant or machinery for 

the supply of electric power. The Commission may take temper- t 

ary possession of land for survey or other purposes but abandon 

it withinvdhree months, claims for damages arising out of the 

occupation tO' be determined as under the Public Works Act. 

The rates chargeable by any municipality shall be subject 
to the approval and control of the Commission, as shall also 
be the fates chargeable by any individual or company receiving 
electrical power from the Commission. The Commission may / 
prescribe a system of hookkeeping for the municipa lities, and 
call for such returns as may be needed by the Craimission for 
. publication. Should there be a surplus to the credit of a ' 

njunicipiility in its eleqtrical operations, after providing for 
interest and debentures, the Commission may direct that this 
surplus be used : (u) For the reduction of its debt incurred in 
construction; or (6) in maintenance, repairs or renewals; or 
(c) extension of works and plant; or (d) the formation of a 
fund 'for future contingencies. The penalty for non-compliance 
with the orders of the Commission is a fine of $100 a day. 

The Commission has power to order overhead wires to be placed 
underground ; and several companies may be ordered to use 
a conduit in common in making such changes. Where lines 





are being constructed under authority of the Board of Railway 
Commissioners of Canada (Dominion) the two commissions 
may jointly prescribe conditions and regulate the work. 

In 1914 an Act amending the Power Commission Act 
was passed hy which rural municipalities could get the benefits 
of hydro-electric power. This was done by a provision that 
where a majorit}" of the freeholders of a township (rural 
municipality) desire it they may by petition ask the Commis- 
sion to take proceedings for lighting the roads or streets, the 
township clerk to certify that the petition is signed by a 
majority according to the last assessment roll. When the 
township council has acted on the petition, the Commission 
prepares an estimate of the cost; Within one month petitioners 
may withdraw their names, and if such withdrawals leave the 
remaining petitioners in a minority, no further steps are to be 
taken. Otherwise the contract with the Commission is auth- 
orized by by-law and the general proceedings follow those of 
otlier municipalities, except that the debentures are for twenty 
years, and are to be covered by a special annual rate on the 
taxable property within the area described in the petition. 

By the Ac t of 1915 , it is declared that no member or officer ^ 
of any Commission appointed under the Power Commission 
.\ct shall hold stock or be financially interested in any way in 
any company or individual engaged in the electrical power or 
transmission business, or dealing in any electrical machine, 
appliance or process. 

In the amending Act of 1JD6, provision was made for the 
appointment of a new officer to supervise the financial affairs 
of the Commission. He is called the Comptroller, and fulfils 
duties corresponding to those of the Provincial Treasurer or 
of the Federal Minister of Finance, even to the preparation of 
the “budget ” or estimates for the ensuing year. He reports 
annually on the amount and character of the assets and liabili- 
ties, presents statements of the revenues, expenses of operation 



and any other matters of public interest in connection with 
the finances of the Commission. The Commission’s accounts 
are also to be audited, either by the Provincial Auditor or an 
auditor appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council. 

The chief amendment passed i n 1917, makes the Com- 
mission’s Imids liable for municipal artd school taxes at the 
average value of lands in the locality, but exempts the ('om- 
mission’s buildings and works. A municipal corporation having 
a contract with the Commission may_not pass a by-law for 
extension without the consent of the Commission. . 

Amendments passed in 1918 provided for the better co- >- 

ordination of the acem^^ of municipalities and the Commis- 
sion with the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council,^ | 

is given power to borrow money upon its bond and debenture 
issues, the Commission paying to the Provincial Treasurer ^ 

interest on such loans. The Commission may divert power 
from one of its systems to another, the costs of such diversion 
being adjusted between the municipalities of the systems » 

affected. This is to enable one system to help out another in 
whose territory a shortage may occur. 

The latest amendment to the Hydro Act, passed at the 
session of 1920, gives the Comm ission pow er to acquire or 
build powe7~ plants whose source of energy may he co^, oil or 
any other ki nd of pow er. Another clause enables the Com- 
n'lission'^ supply power from its own plants to individuals 
in advance of the formal order in council required. Where 
ail appropriation made by the legislature for new work under 
control of the Commission is exhausted, the Commission is 
enabled to apply for special warrant for the amount needed to 
finish the work. The system of empowering a group of rural 
municipalities to co-operate in making a contract, where one 
district alone is unable to undertake it, is amplified by another 
new section. In such cases the rates and payments are left 
to the equital)le adjustment of the Commission, wliich takes 



power to collect the rates, and to manage the distribution and 

The Electrical Development Co. has for years been taking 
from the Niagara River more water than it was entitled to 
under the agreement with the Park Commissioners, limiting 
the company to 125,000 h.p., but the company denied that it 
was exceeding its agreement, and has refused to pay for the 
excess power it was charged with taking. The Ontario Govern- 
ment referred the question to a bench of three judges of the 
High Court to ascertain the facts. The judges, in a report 
in 1918, found it to be a fact that the Company was diverting 
more water and generating more power than permitted under 
the agreement, and held thatj;he excess power be delivered to 
the Power Commission at the price of $9 per horse power per 
year. The Company refused to acknowledge the jurisdiction 
of the court. Then the Park Commissioners, on behalf of the 
Government, obtained an injunction restraining the Company 
from taking more water than required to generate 125,000 h.p. 
It happened that in the same year the Dominion Government 
appointed Sir Henry Drayton of the Railway Commission, as 
Power Controller for war-time purposes. One of the first acts of 
the Power Controller was to give an order to the Company 
to go ahead and generate as much pov'er as it could, no restric- 
tion being imposed as to the price. This had the effect of 
nullifying the injunction, but with the cessation of the war 
the Federal Government power control was abandoned and the 
injunction revived. Application w'as then made by the Com- 
pany for a stay of the injunction, and Mr. Justice Ferguson 
granted the stay on condition that the Company pay a nominal 
price of $6 per h.p. year for the excess power used. To end these 
confusions, an Act was passed at the last session of the Legis- 
lature declaring that where an owner is developing power by 
diverting more water or using more power than its agreement 
calls for, the charter of the company or person may be revoked 
upon stated notice and the passing of an order in council. 



Development and Organization. 

An outline of the constitution of thq^Hydro-Electric Power 
Commission having been given, a few notes on itS' practical 
working will be of interest. 

When a city, town, village or rural municipality wishes to 
participate in the benefits of the hydro-electric system, the 
first step is to ask the Commission for information on the cost 
of a local distribution system with the cost of a connection 
with the Commission’s lines. The Commission sends its engin- 
eers to report upon such costs. If the applying council considers 
that its electors would be benefited by the service, a by-law 
setting forth the cost and conditions is prepared and a vote 
is taken thereon. If this vote is favorable then a second vote 
is taken on a by-law to provide the money. Upon voting Die 
money the Commission makes a contract with the municipality. 
There is no term set for this contract. Practically it is a 
union from which there is no divorce. These conditions are 
well known to the applicants, and the facts, costs and require- 
ments, including the liability of the municipality for its own 
share of the undertaking, are set before the electors. The 
Commission is proud of the stamp of men on its executive 
staff, for they have nevhr underestimated the costs prepared 

for a municipality seeking to enter the union. 

As a matter of security for the municipality’s investment, 
the Commission stands at the back of the municipality and 
the province stands at the back of the Commission. There is 
no revenue to the province other than the rentals it derives 
from leases of water powers such as those of Niagara; yet in 
actual operation the province faces no liability, for the indi- 
vidual power and light users are charged an amount sufficient 




not only to cover the cost of the service, but to provide a sinking 
fund which will in thirty or forty years, as the case may be, leave 
each constituent as the owner of its own plant, and a working 
partner in a state-wide resource unhandicapped by the siTrtax 
of any private profit. So far not a single municipality has ever 
had a fraction of a mill in taxes on this account. The Commis- 
sion, however, has no power to spend money or undertake any 
new construction without an order in council from the 
Provincial Government. 

Though the Commission has wide powers such as those for 
expropriation of private property, and the authority to inspect 
and regulate municipal or private systems in the province, it 
exercises these powers with restraint. Its policy is to acquire 
by purchase or lease existing local systems, whether publicly 
or privately owned, to remodel these in harmony with its own 
by removing obnoxious poles and dangerously placed wires, 
and, by avoiding unnecessary duplication, secure economy of 

The executive work of the Commission has been incidentally 
of benefit to municipalities outside of the electrical sphere, for 
the staff has given advice and suggestions regarding water- 
works, gas works and sewage disposal systems, as related to 
power supply; while the accounting departments of the rural 
and village municipalities, which in time past have brought 
trouble and loss through lack of system, have been so remodelled 
by the Commission’s experts as to become the standard for 
corporations outside the Commission’s territory. In some cases 
the Commission acts as consulting engineers for its constituent 

When a question of developing a new water power arises the 
cost of the investigation is paid for by the government, but 
when the work of developing is taken in hand these preliminary 
costs are transferred to the Commission and become a part of 
the capital cost of the work. 



The acquisition of the Central Ontario System along the 
Trent Valley was, however, obtained by negotiation with the 
Ontario government. This was explained as follows by Sir 
Adam Beck. 

“ The provincial governinent bought and placed under the 
control of the Commission what was known as the Electric 
Power Company System in the Central Ontario district. This 
company was under the control of the Sun Life Insurance Com- 
pany. We bought out twenty-two subsidiary companies with this 
concern for $8,350,000. This corporation owned gas companies, 
waterworks, street railways, pulp mills and electric plants. The 
generating plants were located on the Trent Canal. These 
water powers are under Federal jurisdiction, and the Dominion 
government granted leases to this company from time to time. 
The company bought all the riparian rights on the canal, and 
therefore secure nearly all of the leases. We were obliged by 
negotiation, and at their price in a sense, to buy out this 
company. Since we have taken possession we have reduced 
the electric rates from time to time. We have a very comfort- 
able surplus and have nearly doubled the capacity of the plants, 
and the sale of power.” 

The provincial government in buying out the company ac- 
quired the water licenses granted by the Dominion government, 
and it was found that these varied from 50 cts. to $1.50 per h.p. 
})er annum, though why such discrimination should exist is not 
apparent. The Commission, in taking over the administration 
of the system found more or less variation in rates charged 
to individual customers, there being many favored with low 
rates at the expense of their neighbors. These preferences were 
ended under Commission control, and the same rates for the 
same service are now charged in every municipality. 

In cities of 100,000 or more the business may be operated 
under a civic commission, instead of by the municipal council. 



The working of these commissions is illustrated in the chapters 
on the city of Toronto. 

At the beginning the Commission purchased all its supplies 
from dealers and manufacturers, but as its operations grew 
it was found convenient and more economical to obtain lamps 
and other equipment in large quantities and supply the muni- 
cipalities out of its stock more cheaply than they could buy 
for themselves. By this method the Commission buys lamps 
by the half million and has become an important customer 
for large manufacturers. 

The executive of the Commission consists of the board of 
three members, already named, with Major W. W. Pope, 
general secretary; Mr. Frederick A. Gaby, chief engineer; and 
Mr. J. W. Gilmour, treasurer. There are four divisions of 
work : legal, engineering, accounting and inspection. The 
engineering department has branches which include hydraulic 
engineering, electrical, railway and general engineering, labora- 
tory work, municipal operations, and purchasing and estimating. 
Applications for power are made through the secretary and are 
then taken up by the engineering department. 

The Commission has 2,000 miles of private wires by which 
it keeps in touch by telephone with the operations of the twenty 
water powers and the generating, transforming and distributing 
j)lants of the twelve systems under its control. 

The Commission publishes a monthly magazine called The 
Bulletin.” Its aim is to provide the municipalities with a 
source of information regarding the activities of the Com- 
mission, to provide a medium through which matters of common 
concern may be discussed and to promote a spirit of co-operation 
between Hydro municipalities. It is well illustrated and its 
articles and reports are instructive. 

The Commission’s offices have grown as a consequence of 
the work to be done. When first organized, a couple of offices 

in Toronto Street, opposite the Post Office sufficed for the staff 




iil Qenercitin^ Stations 
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Transmission Lines of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario at October 31, 1919 



of -four or five. Then a suite of offices in the Continental Life 
Building was taken, pending the erection of the present head- 
quarters, shown in the illustration. Since then, several private 
residences in the rear of the headquarters building have been 
turned into offices to provide for staff, which has outgrown the 
I capacity of the new building. A new four-storey annex has also 

I been acquired for administration purposes near the main 


For twelve years the members of the Commission gave their 
j services free, but as the labor and responsibility grew, such a 
' ’method could not be continued and the government voted 
$4,000 a year to the t\yo commissioners and $6,00 0 to the 
Cliairinmi,^!^ allowance to the Chairman being now increased 
b’y an . additional $6,000. The Commission has its own civil 
service. The provincial government has wisely refrained from 
air interference with appointments to the Commission’s staff. 
Consequently party politics has had no place in the system, 
j and appointments are made on the merits of the applicants, 

j The Comnnssion has refused to allow itself to become the 

i dumping ground of incapables. Its policy has been rather to 

seek men of ability wherever they may be found. Both sexes 
j are eligible for office or laboratory work, but men only have 

i been assigned to out-of-door operations. The Commission is 

proud of the loyalty and character of the great majority of its 
servants in all departments. In the sphere of economy of cost 
to the public the Hydro-Electric Power Commission has beaten 
every private company that measures its success by the dividends 
it draws from the public; in the realm of efficiency the boast 
of the private companies is equally vain when compared with 
the record of the Commission. 

So far as the territory served by Niagara power is concerned 
the history of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission has been 
one of continuous progress, and this progress has neither been 
forced nor haphazard. Even at the beginning the Niagara 

6 75 




division of the Commission’s undertakings constituted the 
largest hydro-electric distribution system then in existence. 
Eleven other systems have been added since then, and all these 
when combined still form the largest (dectrical generating and 
distribution system in the world, both as regards the amount of 
energy produced and tlie area over which it is distributed. The 
total energy now used is 315,000 horse power, exclusive of the 
new Chippewa plant now being built on tlie Niagara which will 
have an initial capacity of 300,000 horse power and an ultimate 
capacity of a million horse power. Add to these the Ranney’s 
Falls plant now under construction, yielding 10,000 horse 
})ower, and the new Nipigon power site, producing 30,000 
Jiorse ])ower and having an ultimate capacity of 75,000 horse 
]K)wer, and we have an aggregate of 1,400,000 horse power pro- 
I duced within the next two or three years perhaps, making by 

' far the largest system of hydro-electric energy in the world. 

The area over which the power is transmitted extends from 
the Ottawa Valley on the east to the Detroit River on the west, 

I and from the shores of Lakes Erie and Ontario on the south 

s to the regions north of Lake Superior. It is to be understood 

j that in sections such as New Ontario settlement is for the 

present limited to narrow strips of territory, yet the water 
|: power developments are often in themselves the pioneers of 

colonization and the creators of new industries. Since the first 
general survey under Cecil B. Smith, there has been a rc- 
li division of the water power areas into twelve systems, broimbt 

about by the calls for the Commission’s services and by the 
opportunities for purchasing local generating plants. As a 
commentary on the charge that the Hydro-Electric Commission 
was being erected into a system of confiscation of private capital 
it is well to note that in all these extensions the Commission 
has not yet had occasion to expropriate the lands, waters or 
other property^ of private companies— though having the most 
ample legal right to do so — but it and its constituent rauni- 



cipalities have acquired no less than eighty-six generating or 
distributing plants by negotiation. Not one of these local 
plants has been purchased direct from the Crown, but the 
crown rights which never should have been alienated have been 
recovered by negotiation in the interests of the public. The 
new plant at Chippewa and that at Lake Nipigon, however, 
involve crown rights. 

1 There are now 181 municipalities in the twelve systems, 

and these include incorporated cities, towns and villages, and 
townships (or rural municipalities) of Avhich last there are 
, thirty-three. Besides these there are numbers of other munici- 

palities who have made contracts with the Commission but for 
various reasons cannot arrange for equipment, and there are 
others on the “waiting list” unable to get power in this time 
I of shortage. Of acti^ and prospective municipalities that may 

' be counted in the movement there are over 250. 

If space permitted it would be interesting to trace the 
history of hydro-electric power in the various cities, towns and 
townships, with the attendant multiplication of the comforts 
of life among the people and the growth of industrial facilities 
which have made Ontario the largest manufacturing province 
i of Canada. At present it is only possible to comment on the 

general results, and cite only such cases as will signify the 
dangers that had to be faced and the obstacles overcome before 
it could be felt that the Hydro-Electric Commission represented 
' a permanent public policy. 

The first and most patent effect of the municipally owned 
systems under the Commission was the reduction of the rates 
before charged to householders for lighting, etc., and to manu- 
■ facturers for motive power. Power is carried from Niagara to 

! Windsor a distance of 250 miles, and in "Windsor, which has a 

' population of 25,000 the rates are calculated to be 40 per cent. 

lower than in Detroit, Michigan, just acros^f the boundary 
river, though' Detroit has now a million inhaljitants. Before 


1 .^ 



tlif Commission bought the distribution system at Ottawa, 
the citizens of the capital were paying 15 cts. net per kilowatt 
hour for lighting and $10 and upwards per horse power; after 
the purchase the rates for lighting were reduced one-half and 
for power to $25. Yet dividends of 5 per cent, were paid on 
the stock of the generating company, and in 1908 there was a 
net profit of $17,000. Rates in Ottawa have since been further 
reduced. In accomplisliing this the Commission had tlie satis- 
faction of settling a long and acute quarrel between the com- 
pany and the cities of Ottawa and Hull. In Port Arthur there 
was a controversy between that city and the Kaministiquia 
Power Co. which was also settled by the mediation of the Com- 
mission to the satisfaction of both sides and to the cheapening 
of the service to the citizens. The results at Hamilton and 
Toronto are described elsewliere. At St. Thomas, 120 miles, 
and Galt, 89 miles, from Niagara, the rates for lighting and 
power are one-half of those in Buffalo which gets its power 
through a private company only eight(*en miles distant from 
Niagara, when measured from the station of the Canadian 
Niagara Power Co., Buffalo’s chief source. At Kitchener (then 
Berlin) previous to the days of the Hydro when that city was 
served by a steam plant the domestic rate was 11 cts. per K.W. 
hour with a charge of 25 cts, a month for rent of meter; the pre- 
sent rate averages cts. per K.W. hour with no meter rent. 
These typical cases are sufficient to show the effect of the 
advent of the Hydro-Electric Commission on the cost of power 
to manufacturers and to the citizens at large. It is true that 
the private companies have reduced their rates but these reduc- 
tions were not in evidence till the policy of the Hydro was 
put into effect. Such reductions as were made were therefore 
to be credited to the Hydro. Accepting as a fact the mono- 
polistic character of the Commission’s activities, there has been 
an essential difference between a monopoly created to give the 
communities a service at or near its cost, and one created with 





the opportunity of using the surplus to increase the toll taken 
for private profits. This was illustrated in the case of Montreal 
where as soon as a competing company was put out of business, 
the power and lighting company raised the rates from 10 cts. 
to 14^ cts. per kilowatt hour, unless the customer was willing 
to be tied down to a five year contract and then it was 12% cts. 
The rates for power were also jumped from $50 per h.p. per 
year to a price varying from $95 to $120. 

As before mentioned, the rates, after providing for the 
ultimate extinction of the construction cost, are based on the 
actual cost of the service; therefore, whatever the changes re- 
quired by the present high cost of living and rates of wages, 
the effects will not be worse upon the Commission’s work than 
upon that of any private company. Being based on actual 
cost the charges to the municipalities are adjusted each year 
and the following are a few examples taken at random of the 
results in the seven-year period from 1912 to 1919, the first 
named figures showing the prices charged per year per horse 
power for 1912 and the second for 1919: Toronto, $18.50- 
$14.50; London, $28-$19; St. Thomas, $32-$24; Ottawa, $15- 
$14; Guelph, $25-$19; Hamilton, $17-$14; Waterloo, $26-$20; 
St. Mary’s, $38-$28. Except in the case of new corporations 
entering the system there has hardly been a case in which rates 
have not been reduced. As the general load of power increases 
the cost of deliverv tends to become less, and this in most 
cases has more than counterbalanced the increased cost of wages 
and material since the war. In some instances the credit 
balances due to the municipalities now amount to nearly the 
original cost of the local plant, so that this cost instead of being 
wiped out in thirty years may be extinguished in fifteen years 
or less. The town of Barrie has this year freed itself entirely 
from the debenture debt and all its system will now cost the 
town will be the amount of maintenance and repairs. The 
total of these surpluses and reserves amounted in 1919 to 





$7,206,712, and they accumulated in the face of the reduc- 
tion of rates. These balances are held to provide for con- 
tingencies and betterments and may be taken as evidence of 
conservatism in financing. Public confidence has been gained 
also by such facts as this, that the Provincial Treasurer at 
the time of construction was assured by unfriendly sources 
of information that the first transmission system from Niagara 
Falls would cost $12,000,000; the Commission’s engineer esti- 
mated $4,000,000 and. the actual cost to the twelve participating 
municipalities proved to be several hundred thousand dollars 
less than tlie engineer’s estimate. Further reference to recent 
hnancial operations will be found in Chapter XTX. 

The surpluses mentioned are being re-invested in the plants, 
so that none of the money or the credits associated with the 
funds can be taken out of the systems. For example, the city 
of London in 1917, after paying all charges and keeping its 
plant in first class condition had a siirplus of $76,000 on an 
original investment of $750,000. Because of the extensions 
and improvements in past years the London plant to-day has a 
value of $1,200,000. Over a third of this plant is now free 
of sinking fund and interest charges and is only subject to 
maintenance and operation charges. Now, a private corpora- 
tion would have dealt with this situation by issuing new stock 
to the amount of from half a million to a million and a half 
dollars and the people whose earnings were the sole source of 
this surplus would find their own assets turned into a liability 
and funded against themselves. Stripped of the intricacies of 
joint stock finance, this is the difference between a public service 
tax collected solely in the interests of the people who pay the 
taxes and the modern survival of the Roman system by which 
the government raised its revenues through tax “ farmers ” 
leaving the publicans who collected them to take their toll 
from overcharges. 



Evolution of the Electric Poiver Federation. 

Having outlined the legislative history of the Commission 
we return to the story of long distance transmission by the 
Ontario municipalities co-operating under the a-gis of the 
hlydro-Electric Power Commission. 

Those interested in the perpetuation of private company 
control of public services predicted terrible disaster should any 
public body attempt to control the natural resources, such as 
the water powers and electric energy, which most intimately 
affected the life of the people. It was argued — and the argu- 
ments advanced were covered by a heavy artillery barrage from 
f technical experts — that electric power could not be developed 

or transmitted at the prices or under the conditions calculated 
by the Commission, and that, even if it could, the municipalities 
J could not manage their own affairs, but would end in financial 

collapse. It will be found that the predicted disasters have 
not happened, that the municipalities have administered their 
1 trust to the satisfaction of the people whom they represent, 

and that in the main the calculations of the Commission’s 
engineers have been more than fulfilled in actual execution. 

We must not forget that before the era of electrical trans- 
mission the water powers of Canada and the United States 
were considered to be the property of any mill owner who 
chose to buy the surrounding land, install a water wheel and 
' operate a lumber mill, flour mill or woolen mill; and if the 

mill site developed into a village or town any public power 
service was his inheritance. That nature’s resources, upon 
which the whole community thrived and without which it would 
famish, should be regarded as the natural right of tlie com- 



niunity had not yet become a common conviction. W e should 
recall that at the time the Hydro-Electric Commission was 

preparing plans for its transmission system from Niagara Falls, 
developments were provided for on the Canadian side of over 
400,000 horse power while as yet the actual demand for power 
amounted to less than 50,000 horse power within transmissible 
distance in Ontario and the total demand on both sides of the 
river for Canadian power was less than one-fifth of the power 
provided for. At this period the great electro-chemical and 
electro-metallurgical works, many of which were the direct off- 
spring of hydro-electric power and consume energy by thousands 
of horse power, were in the infantile stage and no one could 
have anticipated that by 1920 there would be such a famine 
of power that these processes alone wmuld consume all the 
energy now available at Niagara Falls. It is only by keeping 
these facts in mind that one can give proper credit to the fore- 
sight and courage of the pioneer companies whose engineers 
and electricians planned and adapted untried machinery for 
the industries yet to be. The recognition of this courage was 
no doubt in great part the reason why the Commission decided 
for the time to defer any power developments of its own at the 
Falls and purchase pow’er ready to hand from one of the private 

At this time a company called the Niagara, Lockport and 
Ontario Power Co., was getting ready to do in New York State, 
under private auspices, what the Commission was planning to 
do in Ontario under municipal ownership. The American 
company had barely organized and built its transmission lines 
to the cities of Eochester and Syracuse before Niagara power 
became an international question and a stop was put to further 
private power developments. Before the export of power to the 
United States had been limited by the United States Govern- 
ment the American company had bargained for 35,000 h.p. out 
of a total of 52,000 h.p. which the Ontario Power Co. of Canada 



w'as getting ready to produce, but when the ultimate capacity 
of 180,000 h.p. would be available the Ontario Power Co. would 
be anxious for customers, especially after the export of power 
to the United States was prohibited. The Ontario Power Co. 
was therefore disposed to make a close bargain with a pur- 
chaser so large as the Commission might prove to be, and after 
I careful negotiations a thirty-year contract was made with the 

Commission. By this contract the Commission was to lake 
power from this company in blocks of a thousand horse power, 
starting with a minimum of 8,000 h.p. until a total of 30,000 
I h.p. should be used, the term of purchase to be for a period of 

ten years, renewable at the Commission’s option by ten year 
periods till 1950, the Commission reserving the right to expro- 
priate the plant in the meantime. The price was to be $10.40 
' per h.p. per year for any amount up to 25,000 h.p. and $10 

per horse-power for amounts exceeding 25,000 h.p., the com- 
pany binding itself to furnish a total of 100,000 h.p. upon 
notice of demand. It was intended at first that power should 
I be transmitted from Niagara Falls to the various stations at 

i 60,000 volts, but research showed that it could be more 

^ economically sent at 110,000 volts, and in 1908 the agreement 

was revised, the Commission agreeing to take from the company 
exclusively up to 30,000 h.p. and thereafter one-half of its 
total requirements up to 100,000 h.p. The price was now to 
be $9.40 per h.p. per annum for amounts up to 25,000 and $9 
per h.p. if the amount exceeded 25,000 h.p. The power was 
j to be supplied at these prices for the whole twenty-four hours 

of the day. The contract was considered to be very satisfactory 
to the Ontario Power Co., as it would take up the whole output 
of the plant without hunting for small customers, and the fact 
j of the bargain furnished proof of itself that the Commission 

was not bent on destroying capital or ruining a reasonably 

conducted private business. 

The Commission afterwards removed all questions between 




itself and the Ontario Co. by the ])urchase of the company’s 
plant and assets, under the following circumstances as de- 
scribed by Sir Adam Beck in his statement before the con- 
gressional committee at Washington: 

‘‘ The plant was offered for sale and we were approached 
to purchase it. We had a contract with the company for 
1UO,UOO h.p. The total installed capacity of the plant was 
](io,UU0 h.p. Their charter rights w^cre for 180,000 h.p. They 
maintained tliat they had the right to install another 18-foot 
pipe line, and because this right w'as contested by the Province, 
they said, ‘ If we cannot go on with it we shall sell.’ Negotia- 
tions W'cre entered into, and the Hydro-Electric Powder Com- 
mission acquired the plant and took possession after about a 
year’s negotiation. The remaining (50,000 h.p. of capacity is 
under contract to the Niagara-Lockport Company. We 
assumed the whole of the bonded indebtedness of the company, 
amounting to about $14,000,000. A\^e acquired the common 
stock of the company and paid them $8,000,000 in forty-year 
Hydro-Electric Powder Commission 4 per cent, bonds, guaran- 
teed by the Province of Ontario. The purchase included a 
transformer station and a short system of lines in the immedi- 
ate vicinity of the plant itself. During the first year of oper- 
ation we reduced the cost of operation by over $40,000. The 
revenue from our tw’o firm contracts, one with the munici- 
palities, and one wdth the Niagara-Lockport Company, expiring 
in 1950, will be sufficient to maintain the plant at the highest 
point of efficiency, provide for r<'newal and depreciation 
charges and operation, and at the same time accumulate 
sufficient revenue to retire the whole of the debt in twenty-five 
years. That is, instead of the (intario Power Company 
owning this plant in twenty-five years, we will, out of the 
reserves we are setting aside, pay off the whole of our indebted- 
ness, and ow'ii the plant free of debt in twenty-five years. More 
fhan that, w'hen the time comes that more water is essential, w’e 



can take the ten or twelve thousand cubic feet per second of 
water now being used comparatively inefficiently in the Ontario 
Power Company plant, and use it in connection with our 
Queenston-Chippewa scheme, thus securing the advantage of 
the full head available between the two lakes.” 

The Commission’s decision to defer the construction of its 
own power plant at Niagara Falls proved a wise one. By 
confining itself to distribution at the start much less capital 
was required and still the municipalities could be protected 
from exorbitant prices. In order not to impose too great a 
strain on the few municipalities then committed to the policy, 
even the distribution systems were narrowed to primary re- 
quirements at the start. 

Though only seven municipalities were parties to the 
original undertaking yet by 1908 the following fourteen muni- 
cipalities had passed by-laws by large majorities in favor of 
taking power through the Commission ; Toronto, London, Strat- 
ford, St. Thomas, Berlin, Guelph, Galt, Woodstock, St. Mary’s. 
Waterloo, Preston, Hespeler, New Hamburg and Ingersoll. 
The ratepayers of Ingersoll had defeated the by-law on the 
ground of cost, but shortly afterwards made a contract with the 
Commission. The total amount of power called for in these 
undertakings was 26,235 h.p. The prices were based upon the 
amount of power each constituency purchased and varied also 
according to cost at the distance transmitted. The highest 
was $29.50 per h.p. per year and the lowest, that of Toronto, 
$18.10. The main elements of the plan of rate fixing were: 
1st, The contract price of power from the Ontario Power Co. at 
Niagara Falls; 2nd, A charge of 4 per cent, per annum on that 
part of the construction cost applicable to each municipality; 
3rd, An annual charge sufficient to create a sinking fund which 
in thirty years should completely cover that part of construction 
cost chargeable to each municipality, and 4th, That part of the 
line loss and operating and maintenance charges applicable to 



each municipality. Each municipality provided its own local dis- 
tribution system, and charged its manufacturers and house- 
holders prices which would cover tlie cost of its home distri- 
bution added to the assessment for power from the Commission. 
Except in the case of Hamilton, which had the advantage of 
the most economically produced power supply on the continent, 
the rates paid by these municipalities were lower than they had 
been receiving from any of the private companies. Wlien tlie 
co-operating bodies were considered as one tlie rates averaged 
$22 per horse-power per year, as against an average of about 
$60 if all the power had been generated by steam, whicli was 
the power source in every place excej)t Hamilton. 

Regarding the use of hydraulic power as a concern of the 
province at large and not the monopoly of the site on which it 
is produced, one important principle applied for the first time 
ill hydro-electric economy was equality of the right to power 
in all areas within range of the current. Both Sir Adam Beck 
and Sir J ames Whitney conceived of this newly revealed energy, 
not as the privilege of the man who, by obtaining a place in the 
Sun, here at the seat of power, would keep the surrounding 
community sitting forever in his shadow, but as giving all 
citizens, as far as possible, the right to their share of nature’s 
resources. That Sir Adam Beck clearly foresaw the benefits 
of this enlarged freedom will be seen by the following extract 
from an address he made at the first annual meeting of the 
Commission of Conservation at Ottawa in I'DIO: “Had this 

matter (power privileges) been left exclusively in the hands 
of private companies, their tendency would have been to get 
the easiest market for their output by inducing manufacturers 
to settle within easy distance of Niagara Falls, offering large 
blocks of power to large users. Under the policy of the Com- 
mission the benefits are being distributed throughout the pro- 
vince to large and small users alike, thus contributing to a 



well balanced and general development, rather than an abnor- 
mal expansion of one district at the expense of others.” 

Rights of way for the power lines were secured, contracts 
were let, and in the last two months of 1910 current was sent 
over the Commission’s own lines to the following seven munici- 
palities, in the order of their greatest distance : London, Strat- 
ford, Woodstock, Waterloo, Berlin, Preston and Guelph. Out 
of a total of 11,985 h.p. alloted to these seven, only Berlin was 
able to take at once the full allotment of the power contracted 
for. As Berlin had been the place of the first informal con- 
vention of municipalities it was fitting that the formal turning 
on of the first power should take place here, which ceremony 
was performed by Sir James Whitney, October 11th, 1910, at a 
public meeting followed by an electrical illumination of tlie 
town, and a dinner at which some of the food was cooked in 
electric ovens. 


Toronto’s tSiruggle for Self Government— The Power and 

Lighting Prollefti. 

The situation of Paris or Verdun during the great war did 
not more truly determine the issue; Avith Germany than did 
that of Toronto on the power proldem during the formative 
years of the Hydro-Electric Commission. In vain would other 
Ontario cities have raised the cry they shall not pass,” if 
Toronto had surrendered to the trained hosts that knew so well 
how to use the public revenues to defeat public control. If 
Toronto had fallen, as Paris did in the first war with Germany, 
generations w'ould probably have passed before the municipali- 
ties Avould have recoA’ered the control of their own civic func- 
tions, and then only after wdping out the entail founded on 
the system of public taxation for private profit. 

At the time Toronto was considering the establishment of. a 
distribution system for electric power the Toronto Electric 
Light Co. had bought off or killed off all opposition and held a 
monopoly of electric lighting and power in the city. It had 
started business as an arc lighting company and, in its agree- 
ment with the city, undertook to lay its wires underground and 
not to amalgamate with any other company. It respected these 
conditions by absorbing the business of an incandescent lighting 
concern and so getting the use of the incandescent concern s 
overhead wires. The city, instead of stopping the violation of 
the agreement, allowed time to pass, during which the company 
extended its overhead wires. It was only in 1911 that the city 
brought action and not until 1916 did the case reach a decision 
in the Privv Council u])holding Toronto’s contention, but even 
then only in respect to those areas since annexed to the city. 



When the company Avas organized in 1883 it had a paid-up 
capital of $175,000, and in 1907, after twenty-four years, 
had an authorized capital of $4,000,000, Avith a yearly income 
of $1,039,716 and a clear profit of $387,790. Its dividend was 
8 per cent., and, allowing for the reserves which it was laying 
by, it was earning 13 per cent, per year. In 1889 it had 
secured a thirty years’ contract with the city, rencAA^able for 
further periods of twenty years in the ev'ent of the city not 
purchasing. The company had started operations Avith a steam 
plant, the cost of generating being at the time $55 to $60 per 
year per horse-power, but about 1906 Avas receiving power from 
the Electrical DeA^elopment Co. at Niagara Falls, over the lines 
of the Toronto and Niagara Pow'er Co., AAuth both of which it 
Avas affiliated by shares held in common and by interlocking 
directorates. The same group were in control of the Toronto 
Street Railway Co., as aatII as of the company holding fran- 
chises for the radial railways reaching east, AA'est and north of 
the city. Interlocked with these was a holding company known 
as the Toronto Power Co., which had acquired rights, the 
exercise or lapse of which might have the effect of avoiding 
some of its obligations to the city. The Toronto Electric 
Light Co., besides a rapidly growing poAver and lighting busi- 
ness, had the latent influence of seA^eral hundred citv share- 
holders numbering men in high social and business positions, 
loan and financial companies and philanthropic organization?. 
Its influence had been strong enough to defeat a by-laAv sub- 
mitted in 1895 to establish a civic lighting plant, and an 
attempt made in 1897 to get fresh estimates had come to 
nothing. In 1900 when the report of the Toronto Board of 
Trade, before referred to, stirred public interest another in- 
effectiA^e attempt was made for action by the city council. 
Public discussion, however, Avas accomplishing something, and 
the press on the whole AA^as faAmrable to municipal operation or 
ownership, or both, of electrical distribution systems. 



Each of these coinpauies ol)tained investors who put their 
money in, expecting protit, so that omitting the holding com- 
pany here was a system providing four stages of profit-taking, 
ill each of which the profits would come from the consuming 
public. Four toll gates were erected between the people and 

the source of power. 

With such a combination of financial, transportation and 
other interests arrayed against it, and with the opposition in 
the Legislature seeking to embarrass the Government, it seemed 
a forlorn hope to establish any public service under municipal 
ownership. When at last the Commission was able to offer 
Toronto an estimated rate of $17.75 per horse-power per year 
the manager of the lighting company authorized the statement 
that they had a rate with the Electrical Development Co. which 
would enable them to supply the city at $8.75 and would only 
require the city to pay for the power it used. In the hope of 
reaching an agreement for taking over the company’s plant 
and transmission lines negotiations were started by the Govern- 
ment, but drifted along while preparations were being made for 
the transmission lines from Niagara to Toronto. The hand of 
the franchise holder was meantime felt in Toronto from many 
unexpected quarters. No doubt the affiliated interests chuckled 
when the Grand Trunk Railway Co., for purposes of its own, 
stepped in and expropriated enough land in the environs of 
Toronto to block the transmission line. An appeal was made 
to Ottawa but the Dominion Railway Commissioners upheld the 
railway company, thus causing months of delay, till another 
route of entry was found along the lake front. 

Articles appeared in some of the journals friendly to the 
private interests warning the public of the menace to life from 
the untried high voltage, and to further advertise these Avarnings 
agents went out along sections of the line from Niagara in- 
citing the farmers and others to ask high prices for the right 
of way and to bring actions for damages against the city and the 


the Queeiistoii-Chipjmwa l\)wer Canal under construction. 


luicli of Iheso (•uini)aiii('s uhtaiiUM, iiivfslnrs who put their 
lUMiu-y ill. eNjK'rtiii^u' [H'olit. ^o that oiiiittiii-i- tht> holding com- 
pany here was a system providing four stages of profit-tahing, 
in each of wliich the pi'ofits would (onie from the consuming 
public. Four toll gates were ereeteu between the ]>eo{)le and 

the source of power. 

With such a comhinatioii of (inancial, transportation and 
other interests arrayed against it, and with the opjiosition in 
the Legislature seeking tt> embarrass the ( lovernmentj it seemed 
a forlorn hope to estaldish any puhli.- service under municipal 
ownership. When at last the Commission was alile to otfer 
'roronto an estimated rate of per horse-]>ower per year 

the manager of the lighting company authorized the statement 
that they had a rate with the Electrical Development Co. which 
wouhl eiiahle them to sUjiply the city at $8. To and would only 
require the city to pay for the power it used. In the hope of 
reaching an agreement for taking over the company s plant 
and transmission lines negotiations were .started by the Covern- 
ment. but drifted along while preparations were being made for 
the transmission lines from Niagara to dorouto. The hand of 
the franchise holder was meantime felt in Toronto from many 
unexpected quarters. No douht the athliatcd inteie.sts chuckled 
when the Ci'and Trunk Railway Co., for purposes of its own, 
stepped in and expropriated enough land in the environs of 
Toronto to block the tram-mission line. An appeal was made 
to (Ottawa but the Dominion Railway Commissioners upheld the 
railwav company, thus causing months of delay, till another 
route of entry was found along the lake front. 

Articles ap]icared in some of the journals friendly to the 
private interests warning the pulilic of the menace to life from 
the untried high voltage, and to further advertise these warnings 
agents went out along sections of the line from Niagaia in- 
citing the farmers and others to ask high prices for the right 
of wav and to bring actions for damages against the city and the 

Silo-filling with Hydro Power. 



Coinrnissiou. Adroit endeavors were made in the same papers 
to convince the public that if Toronto wished to own its own 
services a producer-gas plant would be the best source of poi^er. 
The affiliated companies did not themselves act on this belief 
in producer gas. The Toronto and Niagara Power Co. had 
obtained an 80 ft. right of way from Toronto to the Falls, 
ample to provide not only for all transmission towers, but 
enough space for a double track high speed railway which would 
give a new connection with New York and round out the radial 
lines by which they would become masters of the suburban 
traffic with Toronto. At the Niagara end they had bought 
530 acres of land along the Chippawa stream upon which they 
could build industries that would consolidate their production 

Knowing with what veneration the Imperial Privy Council 
upheld vested interests it was hardly to be wondered at that 
the offers made by the city to take over the plant of the Toronto 
Electric Light Co. were rejected rather light-heartedly. The 
directors of that company no doubt thought they had correctly 
taken the measure of the city council, for they had some years 
before this induced the city assessor to become the general 
manager of the Street Eailway Company. This gentleman, 
had been for years an alderman and for four years was Mayor 
during a time of controversy with the Company. No other 
tried servant of the city possessed so much of the kind of infor- 
mation these companies wanted as he. 

At a conference in 1908 between a committee of the city 
council and the directors of the lighting company to discuss 
terms of sale it appeared to the city’s representatives that the 
company was disposed to deal only on the basis of a capitaliza- 
tion of its future prospects calculated on its existing high 
rates. " We are not before you to offer our property for sale,” 
jauntily declared the company’s legal counsel at this conference, 
“ rather the city is in the market as a buyer. It is impossible 
j 91 

Silo-filling with llv^lro Power. 


Commission. Adroit endeavors were made in the same papers 
to convince the public that if Toronto wished to own its own 
services a producer-gas plant would be the best source of power. 
The affiliated companies did not themselves act on this belief 
in producer gas. The Toronto and Niagara Peuer Co. had 
obtained an 80 ft. right of way from Toronto to the Falls, 
ample to provide not only for all transmission towers, but 
enough space for a double track high speed railway which would 
give a new connection with New York and round out the radial 
lines by which they would become masters of the suburban 
traffic with Toronto. At the Niagara end they had bought 
530 acres of land along the Chippawa stream upon which they 
could build industries that would consolidate their production 

Knowing with what veneration the Imperial Privy Council 
upheld vested interests it was hardly to be wondered at that 
the offers made by the city to take over the plant of the Toronto 
Electric Light Co. were rejected rather light-heartedly. The 
directors of that company no doubt thought they had correctly 
taken the measure of the city council, for they had some years 
before this induced the city assessor to become the general 
manager of the Street Pailway Company. This gentleman, 
had been for years an alderman and for four years was Mayor 
during a time of controversy with the Company. No other 
tried servant of the city possessed so much of the kind of infor- 
mation these companies wanted as he. 

At a conference in 1908 between a committee of the city 

council and the directors of the lighting company to discuss 
terms of sale it appeared to the city’s representatives that the 
company was disposed to deal only on the basis of a capitaliza- 
tion of its future prospects calculated on its existing high 
rates. “ We are not before you to offer our property for sale,” 
jauntily declared the company’s legal counsel at this conference, 
rather the city is in the market as a buyer. It is impossible 
7 91 


to make an offer when as a matter of fact the property is not 
for sale.” He boasted of having a contract which, if not 
annulled by the city’s purchase on the company’s terms, would 
be perpetual, and having already 9,000 customers for power and 
light, they were prepared to meet the city’s competition, being 
sure that most of their customers would remain with the com- 
pany. Moreover, the company had such a good contract with 
the Electrical Development Co. — though he declined to disclose 
the figures — that they could afford to reduce the rates at once 
by 20 per cent, and still have a profit. 

After long discussion the city offered to pay $125 per $100. 
The Company would accept no less tJian $160, and the city 
went no further towards purchase. In 1919 the stock was 
quoted at about $44. 

The city council had approved the provincial hydro-electric 
policy in 1907 ; legislation authorizing the city to make a con- 
tract passed in the same year, and in 1908 the council sub- 
mitted a by-law to spend $‘2,750,000 in building a distribution 
plant, and the by-law was carried by a majority of 15,048 to 
4,551. The first installation of the Toronto plant was sufficient 
for 10,000 h.p., it being understood that extensions would be 
made when the operation of the initial system proved a success. 
This success having been shown, a further issue of city deben- 
tures to the amount of $2,200,000, bearing the same interest, 
4 per cent, and payable in forty years, was made for the 
extensions, and since then investments in other extensions have 
been made. 

Although the trouble stirred up among the farmers between 
Toronto and Niagara had the effect of doubling the estimated 
cost of the right of way, yet in spite of this and of the fact 
that the towers were constructed more strongly and with double 
the number of insulators needed, the total cost of the trans- 
mission line was less by about $150,000 than the $3,500,000 



Within a year and a half from the beginning of field opera- 
tions 300 miles of the Provincial Commission’s main trans- 
mission lines were completed, and in February, 1911, pow’er 
for the Toronto branch was first turned on in the city, a 
twenty-four-hour service being commenced in the following 

Of the estimated total capacity of 60,000 h.p. provided by 
the Provincial Commission for the fourteen original partici- 
pants, it w'as expected that 30,000 h.p. w'ould be in demand at 
a very early date, and of this 30,000 h.p. Toronto became re- 
sponsible for 10,000 h.p., which was to be purchased at $18.10 
per h.p. Toronto’s share of the consdruction costs, transformer 
stations and works was $828,000, and the city’s assessment for 
line losses, maintenance and renewals $38,970. The total of 
these and the city’s own distribution w'orks with the certainty 
of increased cost for extensions of the city system, all of wdiich 
by 1913 made a grand total of $5,120,000, w^ere enough to 
start the circulation of gloomy predictions that Toronto was 
acquiring a white elephant of enormous proportions. 

The actual outcome of Toronto’s enterprise can be studied 
I by the accompanying graphic statistics condensed from the 

report of the city commission, and brought dowm to the end of 
the calendar year 1919 ; 

In 1912 the Toronto Electric Light Co. had 19,000 cus- 
tomers, and in 1914 these had increased to 22,000, since which 
date the company has ceased to publish its figures. At the end 
of 1911, comprising its first nine months, the municipal system 
had less than 4,000 customers, at the end of 1914 these had 
exceeded the private company, being 31,500. At the end of 
1915 there were 38,834, and at the end of 1919 they were 
approximately 63,750. At the end of the first full year of 
1912 there was a surplus of $226,199 over operating expenses 
and maintenance and a net surplus of $13,555 after meeting 
the sinking fund charges. Had the business been conducted 






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as a joint stock company the surplus would have permitted a 
dividend of 5 per cent, this year; but the principle on which 
the Commission carries on its trust is that when the point is 
reached where surpluses are made beyond the provisions for 
the sinking fund the balance shall be restored by reducing the 
rates to the public. The surplus in 1913 was equivalent to a 
dividend of 71/2 per cent, on the cash invested, and the city 
gave a service in electric light and power cheaper than any city 
of similar size on the continent. In the first year and a half 
the amount of power used was approximately 6,000 h.p., in 
1919 it was about 60,000 h.p. 

Before the Hydro-Electric system came into the field the 
Toronto Electric Light Co. charged 8c per k.w.-hour for resi- 
dences, 8c, 10c and 12c for commercial lighting, and 2§c to Gc 
for power. The rates of the Hydro System in 1914 were re- 
duced to such a point that the average revenue obtained was 
4c for residence, 2.85c for commercial lighting and 1.31c to 
power users. These average rates being equal to $20 per h.p. 
per year. The rates in Montreal under private company 
operation in the same year ranged from $30 to $100 per h.p. 
per year to power users, and 6c to 7^/4^ for residence lighting. 

The surpluses in Toronto were such that reductions were 
made also in 1915 and again in 1916. 

The following are the present rates in Toronto : 

Uesldence Service . — There is a charge of 3c per 100 sq. ft. 
of floor area per month (the minimum area charged being 
1,000 sq. ft. and the maximum 3,000) ; plus 2c per k.w.-hour 
up to the equivalent of 3 k.w.-hours . per 100 sq. ft. of floor 
area charged; additional consumption Ic per k.w.-hour. A 
discount of 10 per cent, off the whole bill for prompt payment. 

Commercial Liglitmg . — Five cents per k.w.-hour for the 
first thirtv hours’ use of the connected load or maximum de- 
maud; 3c. per k.w.-hour for the next seventy hours’ use of the 




same; and Ic. per k.w.-liour for all above per month. Prompt 
payment discount of 10 per cent. 

Alternating Current Power, 3 phase, 25 cycles, 550 volts . — 
Service charge of $1.25 per h.p. per month for first 10 h.p. of 
connected load or maximum demand, balance at $l per h.p. 
per month as service charge on connected load or maximum 
demand; plus l^c. per k.w.-hour for first 50 hours’ monthly 
use of the maximum demand; %c. per k.w.-hour for next 50 
hours monthly use of the maximum demand; balance at 0.4c. 
per k.w.-hour. Discount of 10 per cent, if paid in ten days. 

Direct Current Power . — Service charge for first 10 h.p. of 
maximum demand or connected load per month $1.35 per h.p. ; 
service charge for balance $1 per h.p.; first 50 hours’ monthly 
use of the maximum demand or connected load at 2i/^c. per 
k.w.-hour; next 50 hours’ use at %c. ]>er k.w.-hour; balance at 
0.6c. per k.w.-hour. Less 10 per cent, discount in ten days. 

In considering the effect of the reductions mentioned it will 
be acknowledged that since the private company reduced its 
rates because of the advent of the municipal system the Com- 
mission is to be credited with the savings to the citizens from 
both sources. What these are in the case of the private com- 
pany is not known in the absence of })ublished details but the 
savings brought about by the municipal system alone in its 
eight years of service is calculated by the Commission at 
$17,000,000 — a sum greater in itself than the total capital 
invested in the enterprise, including the capital invested by the 
Provincial Commission on the right of way, tower lines, etc., 
connecting with the city. In the last eight years the coal 
saved in the city was over 2,000,000 tons, the supply of which 
during the fuel scarcity would have left the city in a bad 
predicament. The supply of munitions in Toronto during the 
war years would have been simply impossible without the aid 
of the Hydro-Electric System. 

With reference to reductions, it is interesting to note that 




owing to the increased power taken by the Provincial Com- 
^ mission under its contracts, Toronto has shared two reductions 

in the cost of its light and power. 

: The Toronto Electric Light Co. appears to have been ad- 

ministered efficiently during the years of its competition with 
' the municipal system. It had all the advantages of its previous 

•/ experience, and it had the specific advantage of having wired 

and installed the connections with all the big buildings, many 
of which it still retains. It has had a fair field and an equal 
opportunity to obtain the new business due to the city’s growth. 

^ Therefore, the claim that public ownership is uneconomical 

and private ownership superior in efficiency has met a straight 
challenge here, and judgment may be rendered upon the results. 

We may speculate on what would have been the effect on 
’ the whole movement for public ownership of hydro-electric 

, power in Ontario had the monopolist group in the first few 

i years of this century, reduced its rates to a reasonable margin. 

The Toronto company had itself boasted that it could afford 
to reduce its rates 20 per cent, and still make a profit, but it 
, sent no peace embassy to meet its opponent. It might have 

given as an act of grace the reductions it afterwards had to 
yield to the force of competition. It is possible that had this 
act of grace been manifested at the right time this group would 
to-day have remained the benevolent despot of power supply in 
this part of Ontario. The historic fact is that the company 
1 did not make such use of its opportunity, but left the muni- 

I cipalities to put into living practice the ideals which the private 

I company might have striven for, if not attained to. 




Organization of the Toronto System. 

During the construction period the electrical distribution 
system of Toronto was administered as a department of the 
municipal services, but an Act passed in 1911 enabled the city 
to operate under a local commission. This Commission was to 
consist of three members, one to be the Mayor, as ex-officio 
member, one to be appointed by the City Council on the 
nomination of the City Board of Control, and the third to be 
appointed by the Provincial Hydro-Electric Power Commission. 
These members were to hold office for two years or until their 
successors were appointed, each member except the Mayor to 
have a salary of $4,000 a year. The Commission’s duties and 
powers were defined by the Municipal Light and Heat Act, but 
the Commissioners might ask for the issue of municipal deben- 
tures for the purpose of extending and improving the works. 
The title assumed was the Toronto Hydro-Electric System, and 
the first Commissioners were Mayor Geary, H. L. Drayton and 
P. W. Ellis. Mr. Drayton resigned to become Chairman of 
the Board of Railway Commissioners at Ottawa (and is now 
Minister of Finance), and R. G. Black, Electrical Engineer, 
succeeded him. Mr. Black resigned in 1918, and was succeeded 
by George Wright, a business man of wide experience and a 
resident of the city for fifteen years. 

Mr. Ellis, who was elected first chairman and has remained 
head of the Commission ever since, had been one of the first 
members of the Provincial Commission, and was one of the 
champions of the cause before public opinion had become 
crystallized in favor of Government control and regulation of 



the water powers. Although, like Sir Adam Beck, he had 
large business interests, he gave most of his time and thought 
to the problem of devoting the resources of the Province to the 
needs of the people. He was convinced of the future value of 
Niagara power to the Province. In a letter to Sir Adam Beck 
during the early agitation he wrote : “ The development of 
f' manufactures, light railways, etc., of the next few years will 

I certainly increase to an enormous extent the demand for electric 

i energy. It is therefore of great importance that this reserve 

power be retained in the hands of the Province as a public 
! asset, to be developed only for the public good or if franchises 

I be given to private companies to utilize, they should be given 

! under such safeguards as shall effectually prevent the charging 

of excessive rates and the amalgamating of competing interests. 

The question should be considered by the Government, not 
from the standpoint of the demand of the next few years, or 
(( the necessity of a few decades but rather from the aspect of an 

endless evolution of the country’s activity. If only a quarter 
of the 6,000,000 h.p. represented at the Falls should be diverted 
for commercial purposes it will have an almost unimaginable 
I effect on the future development of Ontario.” He illustrated 

the economic value by stating that the control of a million 
horse-power in the public interest at a valuation of $5 a horse- 
power would afford a revenue greater than that derived from 
the total consolidated revenues of the Province for 1903. 

The City Council has wisely refrained from interference in 
the matter of staff appointments, but left to the Commission 
the responsibility for the conduct of the business. The Toronto 
System is regarded as having attained a reputation for efficiency 
I and economy. 

' The Commission does the pumping for the City Waterworks, 

! lights the city streets with over 45,000 lamps, furnishes power 

for certain miscellaneous civic services, for most of the Do- 
! minion Government institutions and for the Toronto Exhibi- | 



tion. For the convenience of its citizen customers it has be- 
come a dealer in lamps, heaters, irons and other appliances. 

The administrative policy of the Toronto Commission con- 
forms to that of the Provincial Commission. It does not 
operate to accumulate profits on the dividend plan but to fulfil 
these three conditions: 

1st, To set aside from earnings a sum sufficient to meet the 
interest on the debentures used in the purchase. 

2nd. To establish a sinking fund to provide for the ex- 
tinction of the debentures when they mature. 

3rd. To set aside a fund that will maintain the plant and 
replace it when worn out. 

The policy of the Commissioners is to cheapen and diffuse 
the comforts of life among the citizens, and enable the indus- 
tries of Toronto to reduce the cost of production; to maintain 
a higher class of service than before at relatively less cost, and 
to improve the social conditions of the employes; to show that 
municipal ownership can be successfully applied to great public 
utilities, and finally to prove that while lessening the cost of 
other municipal services, these important results can be accom- 
plished without laying a dollar of taxation upon the ratepayers 
at large. 

100 ; 



The Electric Railway Era and its Significance to Canada. 

' The municipalities interested at the commencement of the 

power undertaking found difficulty in arranging meetings to 
i carry on their work, due to poor railway facilities, but after 

they realized the wonderful success of their efforts in the power 
field it is not surprising that they commenced an agitation for 
a system of electric railways modelled along the same plan. 
Acting on their request Sir Adam Beck introduced the Hydro- 
Electric Railway Act in the Legislature in_1913, which Act 
authorized the Commission to prepare reports on electric rail- 
way lines when requested to do so by the municipalities, and 
also empowered the Commission and the municipalities to 
enter into agreements for the construction and operation of 
such lines after they had been endorsed by the ratepayers. 

Just prior to the outbreak of the war, plans were v/ell 
advanced for the construction of some of these lines which, it 
was felt, would supply a much-needed improvement in trans- 
I portation throughout the Province, and would also assist the 

municipalities in securing cheap light and power. It was felt 
unwise to proceed with the construction during the war, but 
some engineering work, already in hand, was completed, and 
judging by the heavy majorities recorded within recent months 
in the voting on some of these lines, the ratepayers are firmly 
convinced that they will secure as great benefits from these 
publicly controlled railways as they have already obtained from 
publicly controlled power lines. 

' It is quite reasonable to suppose that Ontario is not 

. entering upon a risky experiment but is basing its plans 

i upon developments already well tried in American cities. 






The State of Indiana has only a poj)ulation of some seventy- 
five people per square mile as against eighty in the case 
of south-western Ontario, and yet that State has sixty-five 
miles of interurban track per 100,000 people as against twenty- 
five miles for Ontario. Since the Indiana electrics mainly 
generate power by steam, and must provide a surplus for private 
profits, the Ontario lines as planned will have the cheaper 
operating costs of hydraulic power and no handicaps due to the 
need of private dividends. 

The Commission and its engineers have gathered much 
data on the development of electric railways, and the electrifi- 
cation of steam lines now being undertaken in other countries, 
and it is upon this information that the Commission’s plans 

are being carried out. 


The new electric railway policy may be regarded as a means, 
first of giving communication to districts now poorly served, 
or not served at all, and, second, of providing links with the 
trunk lines which connect province with province. The local 
system is as necessary to the trunk lines as the trunk lines are 
to it, and no increased traffic facilities due to good highways 
can avail anything, generally speaking, unless this traffic is 
cared for by the electric and other railways. Present condi- 
tions, therefore, favor a beginning on a unified system of pro- 
vincial electric lines. 

The wonderful development of hydro-electric power is 
shown by statistics of central stations (including electric rail- 
ways) in the United States. Energy from these stations in- 
creased from 11.84 h.p. years per 1,000 population in 1902 to 
39,52 h.p, years in 1912, the increase being least in the eastern 
States, which have the most coal and the least water power, and 
greatest in the western mountainous States, which are so 
eminent in hydraulic power and deficient in coal. The in- 
crease in California, for instance, was 109.36, in Nevada 
111.66, and in Montana 143,97. These statistics are of 



special significance to Ontario because of the figures for this 
province as given in a previous chapter and justify the elec- 
trical development plans of the Hydro-Electric Power Com- 

A few years ago it might have been urged that, even admit- 
ting the wealth of Ontario in hydraulic power, there were still 
insurmountable engineering difficulties to be solved in electri- 
fying railways, but to-day all the engineering problems have 
been settled in favor of electric traction. A striking example 
of the superiority of electric traction is furnished by the Norfolk 
& Western Railway of West Virginia. This was a coal road 
and had all the advantages of cheap fuel, but on electrifying 
the Elkhorn Hill section its capacity was doubled over what it 
had been with steam. The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul 
Railway now operate 440 miles of their system from Avery, 
Idaho, to Harlowtown, Mont., by electricity. In practice one 
of the new electric locomotives replaces four ordinary steam 
locomotives; it can run 1,000 miles without overhauling; and 
it has no ashes to dump or flues to clean. It is a well-known 
fact that the capacity of a steam locomotive is very much 
reduced in cold weather, due to increased radiation losses. The 
opposite is the case for electric locomotives, as the capacity of 
the motors is only limited by the heat they are able to dissipate 
and consequently they are able to perform heavier duty during 
cold weather. In addition to the foregoing advantage for the 
electric locomotive it also has a most interesting arrangement 
by which a portion of the energy consumed in climbing a grade 
is regained by regeneration on the down grade. 

The principle by which this is accomplished may be de- 
scribed as follows: “When gravity pulls a train down hill it 
overcomes the inertia and friction, and as the motors are per- 
manently connected to the driving wheels, it follows that they 
must revolve. By suitable connections these motors when 
driven in this way may be turned into generators deliveriug 



current to the trolley wire where it is used to assist other trains 
that are drawing power from the same wire. The steeper the 
incline, the stronger the pull of gravity, tending to increase 
the speed but the greater the speed the more electricity is 
generated by the motors. As the power delivered by the motors 
increases the stronger the pull back of the locomotive on the 
train, and thus the speed tends to be retarded. Again, by 
suitable connections this pull back of the motors may be con- 
trolled within a wide range and so any desired speed obtained.’’ 
In the foregoing way the potential energy stored up in a train 
at the top of a grade is used in the case of an electric loco- 
motive but wasted in braking in the case of a steam locomotive. 
Experience has shown that it is possible to make a saving of 
from 15 to 60 per cent, in the total power used on an electric 
division, depending upon the grade. As evidence of these ad- 
vantages the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Company has in- 
creased its electrification from 220 miles over one section to 
a total of some 650 miles on three divisions. 

The tremendous power that can be developed by an electric 
locomotive will be a further advantage to be secured by the 
electrification of main line railways in Canada, as this should 
practically eliminate the dangers and delays incident to snow 

The electrification of Canadian railways should result in a 
saving of a vast amount of coal now burnt by the existing 
locomotives, and this applies even if electric power were to be 
produced from steam-driven generators for the following 
reasons: 1st, The steam locomotive is in reality a single unit 
steam plant and the advantages of high steam pressure and 
superheating cannot be attained in practice in so small a unit, 
as it can in large central stations. In the average locomotive 
it takes six pounds of coal to raise a horse-power of energy, 
but the same six pounds of coal in a modern central station 
plant will produce from two to four horse-power. 2nd, Gener- 


I ' 



atiug for a large number of trains from a central point 
economizes the total fuel consumption, and also eliminates the 
losses inseparable from so many units working under variable 
conditions — such, for example, as keeping up steam while trains 
are delayed. 

Figures based on returns as published by the Interstate 
Commerce Commission of the United States show that if all 
the railways in the United States were electrically operated 
from steam-driven stations the coal consumption would be 
39,500,000 tons annually, whereas the amount now actually 
consumed by locomotives alone amounts to some 120,000,000 
tons. This saving of 80,000,000 tons annually is equivalent to 
one-sixth of the total coal produced in the United States. 

With these very exceptional lesults from the United States 
before us how much stronger is the case for general electrifi- 
cation in Central Canada, where native coal does not exist, but 
water powers are abundant and well distributed? The price 
of steam coal in Ontario in 1920 has averaged $10 or more per 
ton for industrial purposes. Taking the locomotive consump- 
tion at ten million tons a year for all Canada, complete 
electrification in the country would save an import bill of 
$90,000,000 to $100,000,000 a year after making allowance for 
the supplies of Nova Scotia and British Columbia. Yet, with 
the exception of electric haulage in the Mount Royal tunnel 
of the C.N.R. and the Sarnia tunnel of the G.T.R. the private 
railway companies of Canada for whom superior eflBciency is 
claimed, have done nothing to put this national economy into 
effect in Ontario or the east. 

For the reasons above cited it would appear that the 
problem of electrification is far more simple and the economy 
more certain in the Province of Ontario than in any other part 
of America, with the exception possibly of Quebec. The net 
advantage to the people is the same as if a dozen inexhaustible 
coal mines had been discovered in different parts of Ontario, 



wherel)y the province would be saved from the importation of 
many millions of tons of coal each year for transportation 
services, besides saving the waste involved in hauling such coal 
around the country to the points of consumption. 

The Commission’s railway policy now being evolved is based 
on the needs of the sections which are now without access to 
markets, but each new scheme will depend on the enterprise 
and confidence of the municipalities immediately concerned. 

At present among the propositions taking shape are: 

/ (1) A line from Toronto eastward to Bowmanville. 

(2) A line from Toronto through Hamilton to the Niagara 
frontier . . . closing up two mysterious missing links left by 
'private electric railways. 

(3) A line from Hamilton extending northward to the 
;Galt, Guelph and Kitchener districts. 

The first railway to be taken in hand by the Commission 
was the London and Port Stanley railway. This steam 
road, 24 miles in length, connecting London with its nearest 
summer resort on Lake Erie, had been unprofitable almost 
from its opening in 1853, was in a dilapidated state and was 
being operated at a loss by its owners, the Pere Marquette 
Railway Co. A crisis in the affairs of the road came in 1915-16, 
when the City of London appealed to the Commission to take 
over the line and operate it through a local commission. 
The Provincial Auditor objected to the use of the Com- 
mission’s funds for this purpose, on the ground that the 
money had not been appropriated for this undertaking. 
When the private company interests took the occasion of the 
auditor’s controversy over the purchase to insinuate that there 
was wrongdoing, the Commission awepted the challenge, and 
the Government appointed Mr. George T. Clarkson, an ac- 
countant of high standing in Ontario, to investigate the 
finances of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission from its be- 



ginning to the date of the investigation — that is to the end of 
October^_J^lL. Mr. Clarkson, in a report of 147 pages, made 
suggestions by which the methods of accounting coluld be 
improved in form, but his report otherwise was a complete 
exoneration from the insinuations of the enemies of the Com- 
mission. The following is the concluding paragraph of the 
report, in which he acknowledges that every facility was offered 
him for his investigation : I report that the accounts of the 

Commission are and have been well and sufficiently kept so as 
to distinguish between expenditures of a capital nature, charge- 
able to construction, and expenditures which are chargeable 
to the cost of operations, and that the vouchers supporting 
all expenditures made in the period under review have with 
few exceptions been adequate and properly certified to by the 
Chief Engineer or other responsible officers. My examination 
of the accounts indicates that certain alterations in their form 
can be made with benefit, some improvements which I recom- 
mended having already been effected.” 

Admitting that the technical requirements of the Provincial 
Auditor were over-ridden, the spirit of the Commission’s aim 
to bring the advantage of cheap transportation to the various 
municipalities without loss to the province has been justified 
in the results of the London and Port Stanley transaction. In 
the very first year of the Commission’s administration of the 
road, the number of trains per day was doubled, the speed of 
the cars greatly increased, the equipment improved and the 
roadbed made the best in the Dominion, yet with all the ex- 
penses involved in these changes there was a surplus of $24,000 
in the operations of the year, after meeting all charges, includ- 
ing taxes, sinking fund charges, etc. Moreover, it was realized 
that the great increase of traffic would justify the double track- 
ing of the road; and in 1917 new steel cars, superior to anything 
yet introduced in Canada, were placed on the line. When 
taken in hand it was a ramshackle road, intensely unpopular; 

8 107 



ginning to tlie date of the investigation — that is to the end of 
October, 1917. Mr. Clarkson, in a report of 117 pages, made 
suggestions by which the methods of accounting coluld be 
improved in form, but his report otherwise was a complete 
exoneration from the insinuations of the enemies of the Com- 
mission. The following is the concluding paragraph of the 
report, in which he acknowledges that every facility was offered 
him for his investigation ; “ 1 report that the accounts of the 
Commission are and have been well and sufficiently kept so as 
to distinguish between expenditures of a capital nature, charge- 
able to construction, and expenditures which are chargeable 
to the cost of operations, and that the vouchers supporting 
all expenditures made in the period under review have with 
few exceptions been adequate and properly certified to by the 
Chief Engineer or other responsible officers. My examination 
of the accounts indicates that certain alterations in their form 
can be made with benefit, some improvements which I recom- 
mended having already been effected.” 

Admitting that the technical requirements of the Provincial 
Auditor were over-ridden, the spirit of the Commission’s aim 
to bring the advantage of cheap transportation to the various 
municipalities without loss to the province has lieen justifie<l 
in the results of the London and Port Stanley transaction. In 
the verv first vear of the Commission’s administration of the 
road, the number of trains per day was doubled, the speed of 
the cars greatly increased, the equipment improved and the 
roadbed made the best in the Dominion, vet with all the ex- 
})cnscs involved in these changes there was a surplus of $24,000 
in the operations of the year, after meeting all charges, includ- 
ing taxes, sinking fund charges, etc. Moreover, it was realized 
that the great increase of traffic would justify the double track- 
ing of the road ; and in 1917 new steel cars, superior to anything 
yet introduced in Canada, were placed on the line. When 
taken in hand it was a ramshackle road, intensely unpopular; 



now it is a well managed, popular line, and in equipment a 
model radial electric railway. From 105,559 passengers carried 
in the last year of private ownership, the passenger traffic 
increased in 1919 to 958,587, and the revenue from $14,000 to 
nearly a quarter of a million. 

True to tradition, while under private management, the 
Grand Trunk Eailway, which controlled the coal traffic of the 
Pere Marquette from across Lake Erie, threatened that if the 
public ownership plan were carried out the coal trade would 
be cut off. This threat was actually carried out, and coal 
shipments were diverted at a needless roundabout haul of 00 
miles extra, until the Grand Trunk came under Government 
control in 1920. 

The Commission has also taken over on behalf of tlie 
municipalities interested aiL_existing electric line in the M ind- 
sor district, which connects Amherstburg, Sandwich, Ojibway, 
IVindsor, lYalkerville, Ford City and neighboring villages along 
the Detroit Fiver. The equipment of the private company 
had run down, and the service was poor; these have both been 
improved, and there is already such an increase in revenue 
as to enable the Commission to make an advance in wages 
which had been refused by the previous management. 

The degree of public interest in radial and interurban 
electric lines is indicated by the fact that up to the present 
about four hundred resolutions have been sent in to the Com- 
mission from municipalities in favor of such enterprises. The 
proposals already endorsed by municipal by-laws involve a 
total of approximately $52,000,000 for construction. Over 
2,500 miles of electric railway have been surveyed. 

Some years ago a Municipal Hydro-Electric Kailway 
Association was organized for Ontario, and this organization 
has about three hundred municipalities represented in its 
membership. The work of the Association is now being 
strengthened by the formation of an “ Eastern Ontario Hydro- 



Electric Association,’’ which is demanding that the unutilized 
water powers of the St. Lawrence be harnessed in the trans- 
portation and power interests of that section of the province, 
which has so far received little of the benefits of hydro-electric 

During the summer of 1920 a Commission was appointed 
l)y the Provincial Government to report upon the feasibility of 
the electric railway projects planned by the Hydro-Electric 
Power Commission, and the investigations of this Commission 
are now being held. The new administration of Ontario, 
known as the Farmers’ Government, upon taking office in 1919, 
were urged to embark on a system of highways which would 
exeell that of any other province, and this was conceived to be 
in the special interests of the farmers as a class. Said a mem- 
ber of the Government: “We are going to put into effect a 

good roads system which will be a vital factor in the life of 
the urban and industrial population, as well as those devoted 
to agriculture. This will bring into effect a new system of 
transportation designed to meet the needs of the people, as no 
other would.” As no direct revenue is now obtainable from 
roads, the question arises, what funds may be diverted from 
other public works if the plans of the new l\Iinister of Highways 
are to be satisfied. 

Caution is commendable in a new government, but there 
need be no fear of a fair examination of the merits of electric 
traction in relation to farming communities. A little refiectioii 
will show the farmers that even in their own class interests, 
highways, however good, are not the beginning and end of a 
modern transportation system. If every side-line and conces- 
sion in the province were converted into a highway adapted 
to the heaviest motor traffic, the system would perish of strangu- 
lation without its other component parts. 

The modern transportation system may be likened to the 
circulatory system of the human body. First there are the 





main arteries and veins conveying the life blood from and back 
to the heart. Then there are the brancli arteries and veins 
by which the main current of blood is distributed to the little 
“arterials” and veinlets which bring vitality to the muscles, 
nerves and bones of the remotest parts of the body. The mam 
arteries and veins are the trunk line railways (whether operated 
by steam or electricity), the secondary arteries and veins are the 
Iwal electric lines and the ‘‘ arterials ” and veinlets are the 
roads by which the electric railways connect with the larms, 
market gardens, lumber camps, mines, quarries, etc. The above 
analogy is complete; and the notion that any one of these three 
departments can develop without the other, or be made a com- 
plete transport system in itself, betrays a misconception ot the 
FG(juir 0 inGiits of tlio iiiodGrn coinnmnity. 

In a recent year over fifty steam railways in tlie United 
States passed into the hands of a receiver, but does anyone 
imadne that because of these failures the people of the U.fe. 
will attempt to do their public business without railways 
Will the people of Canada tear up all the tracks of the Grand 
Trunk and Canadian National because these systems show a 
deficit on the present years’ operation? One cause, however, 
ot the stagnation ot some Canadian steam lines under private 
ownership is their failure to see that electric lines would help 
them by collecting package freight- and interurban traffic, with 
a speed, flexibilitv, cheapness and frequency which no steam 
road could accomplish. On the other hand, the motor truck 
for farm haulage, while it is efficient for limited distances, 
cannot compete with the electric line in transport from town 
to town and is hopelessly outclassed where passenger service 

is concerned on extended routes. 

The gross earnings of the electric railways of the TJ.S. have 
increased in the last ten yeara from $435,461,000' to $^83,51V 
000, and in spite of the higher costs of labor and materials m the 
war years, the net margin over operating expenses of these 




lines increased from $168,770,000 in 1918 to $185,077,000 in 
1919. No such progress has been shown by the steam roads 
as a class. Indeed the one fact that the steam roads of 
both the United States and Canada are now pleading in 
forma pauperis before their respective governments for a revolu- 
tionary increase in rates to save them from financial collapse 
is ample proof that the electric systems, within their sphere, 
are beating them in economy and efficiency. 

A very few figures will suffice to show the solid ground on 
which electric traction has advanced in Canada. The Canada 
Year Book for 1918 shows that from 1901 to 1917 the passen- 
gers carried on the sixty-five electric systems of this country 
multiplied over five times, as against an increase of less than 
three times in the case of steam roads, and that the tons of 
freight carried increased more than eight times in the case of 
the electrics as against less than four times on the steam roads 
in the same period. The net earnings of all the electrics in 
1918, as reported in the ‘'Railway Statistics,” were $6,805,574, 
and after paying all taxes and interest on their funded debts 
their net income was $3,645,624. The ratio of expenses to 
receipts of the electric roads that year was 66.47. Set these 
facts beside the pitiful plea made before the railway commis- 
sion this year that for ever}' dollar received by the steam roads 
more than a dollar is paid out in operating expenses. The ratio 
of growth in electric mileage has been over 50 per cent, greater 
than that of the steam roads in the period named. If the 
town-to-town electric systems of the U.S, and Canada have 
made this headway against the handicap of uncalled for “ pro- 
motion ” expenses and the watering of stock under private 
ownership— not to speak of the misconceived opposition of 
many of the steam roads — how much more in the public interest 
is the plan of the Hydro-Electric Commission for the creation 
of a system that will give alike to rural and urban communities 
the advantage of the cheapest possible transit service without 



the dead-hand of the promoter’s profit, or of the private fran- 
chise which so soon becomes a heavy mortgage on the people s 


In observing what has been achieved by intemrban electric 
railways in such States as Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, New 
York, and the New England States in developing inter-town 
traffic and in providing new markets for farmers and gardeners, 
the Hydro-Electric Power Commission has been very conserva- 
tive in its modest plans for electric lines in south and south- 
west Ontario, and it is to be commended for providing its own 
right-of-way into cities like Toronto, thus avoiding the great 
loss of time which handicaps eh^ctric lines in American and 
British cities in passing through city streets. The Commission 
and its engineers have probably given more study to the electric 
railway problem than to that of light and power, and their 
reputation would be more jeoparized by miscalculations. This 
places upon a government the greater responsibility for any act 
of its own which would tend to paralyze the progress of the 


To sum up the situation, a good roads system is incomplete 
without an electric system as its counterpart, and the incontro- 
vertible proof of this is that there is no known instance where 
the establishment of an electric railway has not tended to raise 
the value of farm lands along and near the route. This is 
the judgment, based on experieni'e, of the farmers and garden- 
ers whose interests are most affected. 

It is now not a question of duplicating steam railways but 
of rendering for Ontario, as in tlie American States mentioned, 
a kind of public service which the steam roads never have sup- 
plied and from their nature never can supply. 

The policy of the Commission, which has wrought such a 
wonderful transportation in the industrial life of Ontario, and 
in the attitude of the people towards public affairs, as affected 
I by power, will be still more completely justified when hydro- 



electric power is applied to railways, and it is inconceivable 
that the principle of public ownership, after the triumphs of 
the last fifteen years, will now be abandoned and the people 
cravenly submit again to the supertax of private profit in a 
function which most vitally touches their daily life and well- 

But while on the point of efficiency there is another example 
from Ontario which is useful for comparison. The Provincial 
Government about twenty years ago made a survey of the great 
“ clay belt ” of North Ontario — a plateau of 30,000,000 acres, 
into which Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and 
Ehode Island might be placed, leaving three thousand square 
miles still uncovered — and this survey was followed up by 
building into this unsettled domain the Temiskaming and 
Northern Ontario Eailway as a Government work. The Cobalt 
silver mined as the result of this State enterprise has amounted 
to $195,000,000, or ten times the cost of construction of the 
330 miles of line, not to mention the many industries and 
farming areas opened up. Why did not the private railway 
corporations, two of which already had lines touching the 
southern borders of this region, take up the invitation to build 
this road, for which a Government subsidy was waiting them? 
The reason was that they were too busy lobbying in the Pro- 
vincial and Federal Parliaments for public funds to enable 
them to build lines to centres of traffic already created, and to 
give the public the form of “ competition ” without its reality 
in the reduction of transportation costs. The Ontario Gov- 
ernment’s railway exemplifies the difference between the states- 
man’s conception of State service and that of a company 
exercising a public function for immediate profits. 

Once more public ownership stands ready to fulfil a State 
duty which private ownership has failed to see. At the 
present moment there is discontent in Northern Ontario be- 
cause colonization and industrial and mining developments 



have gone beyond the means of transport. Such a situation 
can be met by a new method, ileretofore wagon roads have 
preceded railways; but in view of the potential power of these 
northern regions an ultimate saving of money and labor can 
be realized by the construction (d narrow gauge or standard 
gauge electric lines at the start, leaving radiating wagon roads 
to be built as feeders. The extension of the Ontario Govern- 
ment Railway from Cochrane, its present terminus, to tide- 
water on James Bay or Hudson Bay should be prosecuted as an 
electric road from the start, for it is alleged by a deputation 
recently before the new Premier from North Ontario that a 
million horse-power is there waiting to be harnessed in such a 
service in this new imperial domain. 


The Electric Bailway Act. 

By an Act passed in 1913 the ground was formally prepared 
for the plan originally contemplated in the administration of 
the large water powers — the extension of the service to electric 
railways. This Act is known as the “ Hydro-Electric Railway 
Act,” and authorizes any municipal corporation to contract 
with the Hydro-Electric Power Commission for the construc- 
tion and operation of an electric railway on practically the 
same plan as for power service. The following are the main 
provisions of the Act: 

Upon request from the Lieutenant-Governor in Council the 
Commission may report on the cost of building and operating 
an electric railway in any locality in which the Commission 
supplies power, the report to show the number of municipalities 
to be served, their population, the probable revenue from the 
railway, and its economic value to the area. Upon receiving 
authority from the Lieutenant-Governor in Council any one or 
more of the municipalities interested may enter into an agree- 
ment with the Commission. Such agreement may provide for 
(a) the location of the line, (&) the kind of equipment and 
service to be furnished and the transportation rates to be 
charged, (c) the proportions of cost, maintenance and operation 
to be borne by each corporation, (d) the issuing of debentures 
for raising the amounts of each contributing municipality, 
(e) the proportion of revenue payable to each municipality 
after deducting expenses, and (/) the construction of the 
railway on any transmission line right of way acquired by the 

For the payment of the annual instalments due the Com- 







mission for costs of construction, maintenance and operation, 
the passing of a by-law is not necessary. 

Where the railway is carried on by the municipality it 
shall be done by a Public Utilities Commission, to be approved 
of by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, and operating as 
a utilities commission appointed under the “Public Utilities 


The powers of the Commission for construction and oper- 
ation and for the requisition of land are the same as exercised 
under the Ontario Railway Act and the Public Works Act. 

After payment of working expenses and interest charges 
the Commission shall pay over the credit balances, if any, to 
the contributing municipalities according to the share due to 


No action shall be brought against the Commission or any 
of its officers under the Ontario Railway Act without the con- 
sent of the Attorney-General of the Province; nor shall the 
Province or the Commission be held liable by reason of any 
error or omission in estimates, plans or specifications furnished 

by the Commission. 

The railways, properties and effects held under this Act are 
held in trust for the municipalities who are parties to the agree- 

An amending Act was passed in 1914 which required that in 
submitting a by-law for an electric railway the bydaw shall 
state the total cost of the proposed work, the proportion which 
the municipality submitting the by-law shall pay, also the pro- 
portion of charges required for maintenance, interest and sink- 
ing fund, and the agreement itself with the Commission shall be 
set out. An agreement for a railway comes into effect only 
after approval of the ratepayers through a by-law, and after 
sanction of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council. 

This Act enables any group of municipalities to build their 
own roads if they think it in their own interest to do so. the 


T ^ 



amount of the Commission’s bonds in such case being a first 
charge upon the property. In this case neither the Province nor 
the Commission is held liable for payment except to the extent 
of the moneys received by the Commission as net revenue from 
operation, or as moneys received from the sale of debentures. 

Notwithstanding this the Provincial Treasurer may be author- 
ized to guarantee the payment of bonds issued by the Commis- 
sion the terms of the guaranty to be determined by the Lieuten- 
ant-Governor in Council. There may be construction by the i 

Commission and operation by the municipality, or both con- 
struction and operation by the municipality, but in either case 
the power is to be furnished by the Commission. 

Deficits in operation are to be made up by the municipalities 
concerned; and deficits in amounts required for construction 
shall be made up by further debentures to be held as collateral 
by the Commission. 

In 1915 the Hydro Electric Railway Act was so amended as 
to enable a section of a rural municipality to take part in a 
railway enterprise without involving the whole township. The 
' proceedings correspond to those mentioned in the paragraph 

referring to participation in power and lighting service. 

In 1916 the Hydro Electric Railway Act was further amended 
by requiring that a by-law for a railway must 'first be submitted 
to the Lieutenant-^Governor in Council and a period of three 
months must elapse before the voting on the by-law. Railways 
already existing may be purchased, but a municipality, having 
purchased a road, may not sell it without a by-law. The 
authority of the Commission to make regulations for the safety 
of the public is extended over privately owned electric railways, 
officers of the Commission having the right to inspect such 
roads and order alterations. Penalties are provided for non- 

The Hvdro-Electric Railway Act was amended at the session 

%r ^ 

of 1920 so as to limit the liability of the Province to the amount 



of the bonds issued for a railway purchased or built and giving 
the bond-holders such rights as shall constitute a first mortgage 
on the road, A new railway planned under the Commission 
may he constructed and operated by sections where the Com- 
mission so decide. Construction of a line may not begin till 
the LieutenaiiLGovernor in Council has authorized it. The 
estimates, agreements and by-laws relating to such w'ork have 
also to be approved by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council. 



Niagara Power on the New York Side I 

It was natural that there should be an earlier and more 
extensive use of Niagara power on the American side. Capital ■ 

was keener for investment there ; Buffalo, already prominent as 
a transportation centre, was near at hand, and the Hydraulic 
Power Company had the facilities of its canal and wheel pit, 
for a first demonstration. 

If very few of those who saw the first electric lights in the ; 

town of Niagara Falls in 1879 could have foreseen the develop- ■ 

ments of to-day, fewer still ever anticipated that chemical and 
metal products, till then scarcely known outside of the labora- 
torv, would owe their advent in the commerce and industry of ^ 

the world to Niagara power and the electric furnace. Hydro- ! 

electric power was delivered here in 1895 and its first application ^ 

in electro-metallurgy was in the making of aluminum. In the j 

City of Niagara Falls, N.Y., there are to-day seventy-three in- 
dustrial establishments, nine-tenths of which would not have 
been established but for the advantages of electric power from 
the Falls, and over thirty of these were directly begotten of 
electric power. Of the latter class it may be said that they 
make an aggregate greater in money value than the chemical [ 

products of all the rest of the continent, and relatively of still i 

greater value as indispensable to applied science. A few years i 

ago Niagara Falls and vicinity was producing about two-thirds 
of the electro -chemical products of America, and so important 
to the nation were these products that when the United States 
entered the European conflict the War Department found it 
necessary to assume control of the whole power output to the 
amount of about 278,000 h.p. and to place special guards over 



the plants to make sure of the manufacture of chemicals for 
war purposes. The allotment for war chemical production was 
increased by about 24,000 h.p., with the friendly co-operation of 
the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission. 

Of the numerous products that could not have been made in 
large quantity but for the high temperatures and perfect con- 
trol obtainable from the electric furnace the following may be 
specified: aluminum — which when first made was sold at $90 a 
pound, and is now so cheap as to be familiar in every house in 
America ; artificial graphite, now more uniform in quality than 
that from the mines; carborundum, aloxite and other artificial 
abrasives; calcium carbide; electrolytic alkalis, bleaching ma- 
terials, carbons and electrodes and many metallic alloys. A 
booklet prepared by a member of the American Chemical Society 
for the Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce specifies over 200 
chemical and metallurgical products based on the power of 

Niagara Falls once lived on the tourists in summer and 
hybernated in the winter, like the bear, on the fat produced in 
the summer. Now it lives on hydraulic power, and winter and 
summer are alike in industrial life. AVhen the City of Niagara 
Falls was incorporated in 1892 it had a population of about 
10,000 ; now its population is over 60,000. 

The City of Buffalo has grown from about 255,000 at the 
census of 1890 to about 530,000 at the present time; and had 
Niagara power been available there as cheaply as at Niagara 
Falls city, its industrial growth might have been nearly as great 
in proportion. Buffalo has not been able to obtain as much 
power from the Falls as the city has desired, and, as already 
stated, a large part of this comes from the Canadian side. But 
in recent years the various public services have been gradually 
brought under one large private corporation, the Buffalo Gen- 
eral Electric Co., which owns the power, lighting, street car and 
other public utilities, and controls tin; transmission of current 



from the Falls. The distance from the Falls to Buffalo on the 
New York side is from 18 to 27 miles, according to route, and 
the point of distribution of current; the distance from the Falls 
to Toronto is 80 to 90 miles according to route. The systems 
of measuring for light and power differ in the two cities, but for 
like services in domestic lighting the rates in Toronto are less 
than half those of Buffalo, and rates for power are substantially 
less in Toronto. The street lighting costs the City of Buffalo 
from $25 to $75 per year per lamp according to the type of lamp ; 
in Toronto under the Commission the rate in 1918 was $7 per 
lamp per year, a reduction of $1 per lamp from the rate of 1917. 
The fact that even now the Buffalo General Electric Co. raises 
by steam 80,000 h.p. out of a total of about 120,000 h.p. used 
by that city furnishes internal evidence of the wide gap between 
the true cost of Niagara power — allowing a fair return on the 
capital actually required to produce power — and the prices that 
the citizens have to pay. In the steam plant of this company, 
which is one of the most efficient in the United States, it requires 
six tons of coal to produce one electrical horse power per year. 
Dr. Geo. Otis Smith, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, in 
reports on coal conservation estimates that up-to-date steam 
plants require one and one-half to three pounds of coal per kilo- 
watt hour, depending on the grade of coal and other factors. 
This accords closely with the estimate above given on the horse- 
power basis. At the present price of coal it must be plain that 
the citizens of Buffalo cannot, under this policy, get the full 
benefit of Niagara Falls power. It is doubtful if any relief is 
expected, seeing that the company has already spent nearly 
$6,000,000 on its steam plant and is now installing further units 
of about 46,000 h.p. to be generated by steam. 

Seeing that so much of its power is raised by steam it 
must be assumed that whatever profits it makes on its various 
other public utilities, the power service by itself is furnished at 
reasonable rates; but the fact remains that the citizens of 




Buffalo, so near the Falls, are paying for steam generated power 
w’hile Toronto and Hamilton are getting hydro-electric power 
at less than half the cost. 

The explanation of the great industrial development of 
Niagara Falls, N.Y'., is that in the early years of electric 
power production the power companies were themselves search- 
ing for new uses for their output, and were glad to sell hydro- 
electric energy in large ‘‘blocks” at such low prices ($14 to 
$18 per h.p. per year, while one contract was made for about $9) 
and on such long terms of service that the projectors of the 
electro-chemical and electro-metallurgical works would feel safe 
to invest money in these enterprises. Cheap power was, in fact, 
the creator of those key industries, which in turn led to the 
establishment of other industries using the new chemicals and 
metals for by-products, further diversifying the manufactures 
of the city and surrounding villages. Cheap power is still 
Niagara’s breath of life. To radically raise the price of power 
when it was only the cheapness and great volume of power that 
made these products possible would disrupt the whole chain of 
the city’s industrial life. 

The situation now is that the two leading power companies 
(the Hydraulic Power Co. and the Niagara Falls Power Co.) 
have been merged into one huge corporation under the name of 
the Niagara Falls Power Co. with a capital of $26,000,000 and 
a bond issue of $28,000,000, controlling practically the entire 
output of power on the New York side, and having plans now 
advanced for such changes in their power plant as will enable 
them to obtain 100,000 h.p. more without increasing the amount 
of water diversion allowed under the treaty. The corporation, 
however, did not inject new water into its capital on the occa- 
sion of this merger. 

One would suppose that the citizens of Niagara Falls would 
be specially favored in ’obtaining light and power for civic ser- 
vices, but this does not appear to be the case. A comparison of 



the lighting bills of houses using the same amount of current 
for lighting and domestic work, such as ironing and heating, 
shows that Toronto charges are about one-third those of Niagara 
Falls, though the latter has the source of power within its own 
city boundaries. The only civic service carried on by the muni- 
cipality of Niagara Falls is that of the waterworks, and even the 
pumping for this is in the hands of a private company which 
does the pumping at $16 per h.p. per year. The city pays $45 
per year per lamp for arc lighting. 

If both Buffalo and Niagara Falls are under the reign of 
private ownership, and Niagara Falls has now six times the 
population it had in 1892 while Buffalo has only doubled, is 
there not something to the credit of private ownership in the 
case of Niagara Falls? To answer this question we have to 
recall the conditions which gave Niagara Falls this increase. 
The power companies had spent huge sums on the hydraulic 
developments at a time when the cost of transmitting to long 
distances was not so well determined as since; they had also 
bought large tracts of land around the city and were therefore 
faced by a crisis which could only be resolved by turning large 
blocks of power and land into large blocks of revenue. The 
companies were naturally interested in the growth of the city, 
but increase in population was incidental to, and not the prim- 
ary purpose of, the sale of the hydro-electric power which created 
the new chemical and other industries. The fact was that the 
city power and lighting business was in the hands of a private 
company now known as the Niagara Falls Electric Service Cor- 
poration which was already controlled by the Buffalo General 
Electric Co. For some reason not apparent the rates charged to 
the citizens of that city, within whose borders the power is pro- 
duced, are higher than in Buffalo itself. To see the population 
increase six fold and yet to be able to keep up the rates for 
domestic current and for power for the city would be regarded 
as good business by the company and its distributing agency 
9 123 


from the public tax collecting standpoint. But had the produc- 
tion of the power, and the distribution of it, been in the hands 
of the municipality from the beginning, surely the enlightened 
self-interest of the citizens would have impelled them to offer 
the same low rates to create the electro-chemical industries, 
while such low rates as rule in Toronto for domestic and civic 
lighting and power would have been a yet greater magnet in 
attracting population. 

The situation on the New York side seems to be explained 
by the following extracts from an investigation of a joint com- 
mittee of the N.Y. legislature publislied in 1918. ‘MVe find a 
generating company, a transmitting company and a distributing 
company with directorates interlocked and the stock of the one 
owned by the stockholders of the other. . . . The main con- 
sideration for the majority of the stock in the Cataract Power 
and Conduit Co. which the Niagara Falls Power Co. owns, was 
the transfer to the Cataract Power and Conduit Co. by the 
Niagara Falls Power Co. of a franchise to operate in Buffalo, 
which franchise cost it nothing. The Buffalo General Electric 
Co. received its power from the Cataract Power and Conduit Co., 
having very largely the same officials and directors. The rela- 
tions existing between these three companies seem to be so close 
that one company can charge whatever it pleases and receive any 
price it wishes, as is borne out by the fact that the Niagara Falls 
Power Co. charge the Cataract Power, and Conduit Co. twice 
what it does other consumers, and the Cataract Power and Con- 
duit doubles its charges to the Buffalo General Electric Co. 
over what it charges the International Railway Co. . . . While 
the Niagara Falls Power Co. has paid dividends at the rate of 
8 per cent, and still had left a surplus about equal to 8 per cent, 
more; and the Cataract Power and Conduit Co. has had its 
separate surplus, and the Buffalo General Electric Co. has had 
its separate surplus, your committee is led to the irresistible con- 
clusion that the ultimate consumer of electricity is paying into 



the three pockets of the one coat of the private hydro-electric 
corporation . . . giving an exorbitant earning to the three 


As the names, of the directors, officers and shareholders are 
given in proof of the combination of interests, here is good 
collateral evidence that as far as concerns the citizens at large 
the communities within electrical range of Niagara Falls in the 
State of New York are to-day fettered in an economic servitude 
from which the Hydro-Electric Power Commission have set the 
people of south-west Ontario free — a liberation which they aim 
to bring to every other part of the Province. 

Without analyzing the motive of the Niagara Falls Power 
Co., that which they did was in the public interest in this 
respect, that by fixing a price which in United States experience 
was unprecedentedly low for large blocks of power, they pro- 
vided the pioneers of the electro-chemical and electro-metallur- 
gical industries with an insurance against failure, and against 
such increases in the cost of the energy as would annul the bene- 
fits to the community. Whatever one’s belief or disbelief in 
public ownership, it is evident that every increase in the cost of 
primary power restricts its service to the community, and the 
result is the same whether this increase is designed as a levy or 
tribute upon the first users of the power, or upon the public who 
are ultimately affected. There was at the beginning at Niagara 
Falls, N.Y., no “stepping up” of profits on the production of 
power; the creation and maintenance of the new industries be- 
came the first considerations. Out of the cloudy oblivion of 
unnumbered ages there was awaiting the service of humanity on 
the Ontario side the same opportunity but upon like conditions ; 
that the special industries now to be created should regard, as 
the primary law of their being, the service they could render to 
the people without regard to the profit in operation. The his- 
tory of power sales on the Ontario side has been that while the 
Hydro-Electric Power Commission sought to afford power dis- 



tribution at as near cost as possible, giving the benefits to the 
entire community, the plans of the private power companies 
provided for a series of five stages at each of which it was 
intended to take a profit from the consumer. With one excep- 
tion, the rates demanded by the private power corporations on 
the Ontario side show that these toll-gates were erected and 
designed to take the tolls, and as a mutter of record no toll-bar 
has been voluntarily withdrawn out of consideration to the 
public. Rather than sell large blocks of power at as near cost 
as possible it has been the policy of the Ontario producers to sell 
power at as high a profit as obtainable, and hence under this 
policy industries of great public importance remained unborn 
because the subsidiary industries that grouped around the 
electro-chemical works of Niagara Falls, N.Y., being unable to 
get more power from the New York side, were compelled to pay 
the tribute levied by the Canadian companies and imported the 
power. The industries were lost to Ontario because the private 
Canadian companies took all the traffic would bear. Had the 
principles which guided the Hydro-Electric Power Commission 
been apprehended by the Ontario governments of these early 
days, all the achievements on the New York side in creating 
electro-chemical industries would have been excelled on the 
Ontario side. The Electrical Development Co. neither opened 
the door for these industries nor gave the benefit of the low rates 
to the people at large. The plan actually submitted to the Pro- 
vincial Government of carrying a canal through the Park would, 
by increasing the head, have given an extra million horsepower 
at less cost than by these private companies. This is shown by 
the facts mentioned in the appendix. It must be admitted that 
the Ontario Governments of those days were less concerned about 
the benefits of a public power policy than they were about shift- 
ing the burden of maintaining the National Park. They sacri- 
ficed the greater for the narrower aim, and the public resources 
were made subservient to private profit.. 




Electricity on the Farm. 

The policy of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission in 
dealing with rural municipalities is designed to encourage the 
greater use of electricity on the farm. 

Some years ago Sir Adam Beck took a staff engineer to 
Europe to investigate all that had been done there in applying 
electric power to farm operations, and adapting this infor- 
mation to conditions in Canada experiments have been made 
in various counties of Ontario. A start was made as early as 
1^910, and each year demonstration outfits have been taken 
from place to place to educate farmers in the use of electric 

There has been a steady progress in most parts of the 
province in the use of this power on farms for lighting and 
domestic work, such as washing dishes and clothes, churning, 
pumping water, sweeping floors, ironing, baking bread, oper- 
ating sewing machines, etc. In out-of-house work electricity 
has been used for filling silos, milking cows, threshing grain, 
grinding grain, chopping straw and feed, pumping water for 
the stables, grinding tools, sawing wood and loading and un- 
loading wagons. In this class of work the progress has been 
sporadic rather than general, according to the density of settle- 
ment and the co-operative spirit of the farmers. There are 
townships where practically no advantage has been taken of the 
new power, while in others electricity has entered as extensively 
into the labor of farmhouse and farms as in the towns. For 
instance, from the town of Tillsonburg, thirty-three miles of 
line were run in 1917 to thirty-one farms; from the hamlet of 
Brownsville to fifty-eight farms, and to smaller groups of 




farmers in many other townships. From the village of Nor- 
wich, in Oxford Comity, there are tliirty miles of hydro lines 
radiating in various directions to over 130 farms. Here and 
in other places a common practice is for a group of farmers 
numbering half a dozen to a dozen to use a twenty horse-powder 
transformer and a motor of two to five or more horse-power. 
When heavy w^ork is wanted by one farmer, such as filling a 
silo or threshing, the others limit their demands to lighting 
and small domestic use, and await their turn for heavy duty 
w'ith the motor. In this way, by a little neighborly accommo- 
dation, all- are served at a cost lower than by other sources of 
power for the same amount of work. At firs t, in the farms ‘ 
around Norwich a flat rate (^$96 a year w^as charged for a two 
horse-power motor, but this plan is being discarded for measure- 
ment by meter. Records are being kept of the operations and 
costs by various groups of farmers, so that in time the most 
economical practice will be worked out. One syndicate of six 
farmers used in a year 2,378 h.p. hours at a cost of $106 for 
out-of-door work, and for their lighting and house work 1,117 
h.p. hours at $280. Another syndicate of seven used in the 
year for all services 8,265 h.p. hours at a cost of $297.54. From 
the fact that gasoline engines have been replaced in these 
districts, and that up to the present no other form of farm 
power has replaced the electric, it seems certain that hydro- 
electric power is the best, and that by the saving of labor in 
the present time of higher farm wages electricity will bring 
about important changes in agriculture in Ontario. 

In what may be classed as agricultural industries, such as 
the operation of milk condensing factories, milk powder fac- 
tories, cheese factories, creameries, brick and tile making plants 
and gravel and road-making plants, electric power has become 
generally applicable in rural Ontario. 

The Commission itself has become a farmer, having de- 
cided to put into cultivation lands on the right of way of the 




new Chippewa-Queenston power canal, in the Niagara district. 
A start was made in the autumn of 1917 on 607 acres, and in 
1918 1,195 acres were put under cultivation. The first efforts 
have been devoted to restoring an exhausted soil, but in 1918 
over 9,000 bushels of grain were raised and considerable quanti- 
ties of fruits and vegetables. The Commission' however, does 
not expect to make a direct profit in farming but rather to 
reduce the cost on the high-priced land of the district. Sir 
Adam Beck has made the interesting suggestion that out of 
such large developments as that proposed on the St. Lawrence 
the Province should allow the Commission to set aside a small 
rental, say fifty cents per horse-power as a grant to encourage 
electricity on the farm. 

It has been found that in many cases service was rendered 
to a favored few to the exclusion of other farmers. In order 
that a maximum area might be served from a distribution 
centre investigation surveys have been made and the area 
divided into districts over which a uniform rate will apply. 

In order to obtain a more equitable distribution of the cost 
a new classification for users of Hydro-Electric service in rural 
districts has recently been made as follows : 

Class 1. — Hamlet Lighting— Includes all contracts where 
four or more consumers are fed off one transformer for house 
lighting only. 

Class 2. — House Lighting— Includes all contracts where 
residences are served that cannot be grouped as hamlets. 
Farmers and power customers may not receive service under 
these two classes. 

Class 3— Farm Lighting— Includes the lighting and the 
operation of miscellaneous small equipment of a residence and 
out-buildings on a farm. 

Class Jf. — Lighting and CooTcing — Includes the lighting and 
the operation of miscellaneous small equipment of a residence 
and out-buildings on a farm and service to an electric range. 









Class 5. — Light Farm Service — Includes the lighting and 
the operation of miscellaneous small equipment of a residence 
a.nd out-buildings on a farm and service to a five-horse-power 
motor, but not an electric range or electric heaters. 

Class 6. — Medium Farm Service — Includes the lighting and 
the operation of miscellaneous small equipment of a residence 
and out-buildings on a farm and service to a five-horse-power 
motor and an electric range, or to a ten-horse-power motor 
without the electric range or electric heaters. 

Class 7. — Heavy Farm Service. — Includes the lighting and 
the operation of miscellaneous small equipment of a residence 
and out-buildings on a farm and service to a ten or twenty- 
horse-power motor and an electric range. 

Class 8. — Syndicate Outfits — Will include any of the fore- 
going classes which may join in the use of a syndicate outfit as 
long as the summation of their relative class demands is equal 
to the kilowatt capacity of the syndicate motor. The general 
use of electric power on the farm would seem to depend largely 
on two factors, (1) the nearness of the farms to a main power 
line, and (2) the number of farms that can be economically 
reached from one transformer. Except in very densely settled 
fruit and market gardening districts it would seem that for 
some time to come a given amount of power can render a more 
important service to large areas of land, and to the communi- 
ties who are yet to live on them, by first building electric rail- 
ways through districts not possessing good communications, 
and then distributing power to the farmers from the main 
transmission lines. Where electric lines are already built the 
cost of power to farmers is reduced by $5 to $15 per horse- 
power per year. In many situations, such as in hilly districts, 
narrow gauge lines can be provided, as they were improvised 
during the war in Flanders, at one-quarter to one-eighth the 
cost of our standard gauge lines. 



The record of the Commission in electrical service on the 
farms of Ontario is of value to the student of economics, for 
it tells us why the theory of administration for profit never has 
and never can measure up to the just expectations of the public. 
There have been a number of private companies whose field of 
operations has been in those parts of the province where settle- 
ment is densest and education and wealth greatest — that is in 
the Niagara district. One of these companies generates at an 
operating cost lower than any plant working under the Com- 
mission, and the other has repeatedly boasted of its efficiency 
and its ability to compete with all comers. Why have these 
companies done practically nothing for the farmers of the finest 
fruit growing area in Canada in introducing power for farm 
operations? Simply because there is more direct and immedi- 
ate profit in selling power to the cities, towns and individual 
factories who take larger “ blocks ” of power for a given amount 
of outlay and operating costs. Hence they have distinctly dis- 
couraged the diversion of their power to farm purposes. It is 
only right and natural that a company created for profits to 
its shareholders should take this view of business, because 
dividends to shareholders depend on it. But private ownership 
of public utilities boasts of its superior efficiency. To what 
end is this efficiency directed? Manifestly to pay dividends to 
the shareholders and to increase the value of the stock. Now 
the policy of the Commission has been to give the widest dis- 
tribution of power, consistent with cost of the whole, and this 
view takes in the farming community, upon which after all is 
built the superstructure of the wealth and prosperity of the 
State. It would not have been possible to introduce electricity in 
a single township in Ontario — as it has not been done in a 
single parish in Quebec to any extent where private ownership 
prevails — on the basis of direct profit in power operation. 
There is little doubt that if the people of Ontario had left the 
great water powers as the prerogative of monopoly-hunting 



companies a considerable local industry would have been 
built up at Niagara Falls and two or three other spots, 
while the depopulation of rural Ontario at large, which is 
giving so much concern to our stattismen, would be going on 
towards the ultimate crisis. It is logical, therefore, to antici- 
pate that cheap electric power, on the principle laid down by 
the Commission, will do more than anything else to arrest the 
depopulation of the farms of Ontario and raise the status of 
agriculture to a new high level. 

Sir Adam Beck has forecast the relation which electric 
power ought to have to the future of farming in this country. 
After outlining the service the Commission’s rural lines had 
already rendered here and there, he said in one address : Farm 

labor is expensive and scarce, and that makes farm life more 
burdensome. When labor is scarce and expensive anything 
that takes its place is a help to the farmer, and we must en- 
courage the farmer, because agriculture takes the first place in 
the Province of Ontario.” 


The Power Problem of the St. Lawretice. 

Akin to the history of the early raids upon Niagara is the 
story of the attempts to seize the great undeveloped powers of 
the St. Lawrence for the enrichment of the private exploiter. At 
the first locality favorable for impounding the waters of that 
river in their course to the sea from Lake Ontario, two develop- 
ments aggregating about 2,000,000 h.p. may be made at the 
Long Sault and in the vicinity of Morrisburg, not taking 
account of St. Lawrence power wholly within the Province of 
Quebec, which can be improved to make available two million. 

In making these developments two collateral public advan- 
tages may be gained. First the waters of Lake Ontario may 
be raised several feet, giving a more uniform level, and second, 
a ship channel of a depth of thirty feet may be provided ex- 
tending ocean navigation for vessels of that draft up to all 
ports on Lake Ontario. All vessels that can pass through the 
new Welland Canal could also steam from all the other great 
lakes and rivers to the sea. Considered as power stations these 
two sites divided equally between* Canada and the United 
States would give Ontario and New York approximately a 
million horse-power each — a power equal to the consumption 
of 40,000,000 tons of coal per year, estimated at twenty tons 
per year per horse-power. Competent engineers have estimated 
the cost of the proposed ship channel and power developments 
at $400,000,000 but if this estimate were doubled the -interest 
on the outlay at 5 per cent, would be completely covered by 
the power revenues at an average price of $30 per h.p. per year. 
If the cost did not exceed $400,000,000 then there would be a 
large annual surplus from power sales alone. 



As in the case of Niagara, the St. Lawrence is an inter- 
national boundary water from its head at Lake Ontario till it 
reaches the Province of Quebec, and consequently it comes 
under the treaty, before mentioned, between Great Britain and 
the United States. Hence the rights of navigation take prece- 
dence over power rights, but in this case the mutual rights of 
the two nations are specifically safeguarded by an article in the 
Ashburton Treaty of 1842, which ])rovides that both sides of 
the Long Sault Islands and Barnhart Island “ shall be equally 
free and open to the ships, vessels and boats of both parties.” 

For years past both the Morrisburg and the Long Sault sites 
have been an attraction to companies seeking power franchises. 
Since 1906 four companies with Canadian charters and eight 
companies with American charters, chiefly obtained from New 
York State, have been incorporated with the purpose of ob- 
taining land and water rights around these localities, but 
chiefly at the Long Sault, where the greater power is obtainable. 
It is curious that in the application for most of these charters 
the purpose alleged as the main aim of the companies was the 
“ improvement of the navigation ” of the river, the use of the 
power being apparently a minor consideration. Numbers of 
other applications for federal charters have been made at Wash- 
ington with the same solicitude for the improvement of navi- 
gation, but in most cases the applications were rejected. When 
the camouflage of these forms was uncovered it was found that 
behind the dozen or more different presentments loomed the 
figure — like the old cartoons of Napoleon’s ghost — of a company 
which completely monopolizes the aluminum production of 
Canada and the United States and which to-day practically 
dictates the prices and conditions of the aluminum trade of the 
world.* If commercial companies had corporeal essences we 

* See report on “ Long Sault Rapids, St. Lawrence River,” by 
Arthur V. White, published by the Commission of Conservation, Ottawa, 





should be forced to believe in the transmigration of souls, in 
so many bodies has this ghost appeared, all with the same 
identity of aim, the use of this international waterway for its 
own private purposes. 

This corporation was organized in 1889 as the Pittsburg 
Reduction Co. but the name was afterwards changed to the 
Aluminum Company of America, its Canadian branch being 
known as the Northern Aluminum Company of Canada, with 
works at Shawinigan Falls. Of its four United States plants 
one is located at Niagara Falls, and the other at Massena, N.Y., 
where it built a power canal near the Long Sault rapids. It 
is the sole producer of aluminum on this continent, and its 
output here equals six-tenths of the production of the whole 
world, which is now approximately 175,000 metric tons a year. 
This situation has an interest to the electrical industries. From 
its lightness aluminum is well suited as a conductor for trans- 
mission lines, having about twice the conducting capacity of 
copper, weight for weight, but the aluminum monarchs keep 
aluminum for wire at a price which just fails to encourage its 
large use for this purpose in the United States market. The 
price is lower in Canada and consequently there is a greater 
proportion of aluminum wire in the power lines of Canada 
than any country in the world, there being about 13,000 wire- 
miles of aluminum to 8,000 wire-miles of copper. 

Aluminum is extracted by electric power from an earth 
known as bauxite, of which none in workable quantities has so 
far been found in Canada. The major part of the metal pro- 
duced in Canada is not manufactured here but exported to 
Europe and Japan; and during the war it was important as a 
material for aeroplanes, machine gun parts and as an ingredient 
in the high explosive known as ammonal.* 

Having failed to oibtain charters as the improver of the 

* For interesting data on aluminum and for notes on the St. 
Lawrence power situation, see " Conservation in 1918,” by James White, 
Deputy head of Commission of Conservation, Ottawa. 



navigation of the St. Lawrence the war furnished the Aluminum 
Company with a new pretext for obtaining a hold on this power, 
to achieve which its affiliated companies were said to have spent 
$1,750,000. This time the applicant appeared to be the 
St. Lawrence River Power Co. (New York Charter), which in 
1917, on the plea of the urgency of increased aluminum pro- 
duction for war purposes, obtained from the United States 
Secretary of War permission to construct a submerged weir at 
the Long Sault, the object being to get further power for its 
• work at Massena, N.Y. The permission for the weir was to 
be subject to the appro /al of the International Joint Com- 
mission on the treaty, but the Secretary of War gave permission 
to the company to build other works without any reference to 
the Joint Commission; and as a matter of fact without either 
the knowledge or consent of the Canadian Government. Al- 
though the war work was urged as the most important object, 
nearly a year elapsed before the company filed its plans before 
the Commission at Washington, and then action was claimed 
to be so urgent that no opportunity was given the Canadian 
counsel to get instructions. The Joint Commission gave an 
“ interim order ” approving of the construction and mainten- 
ance of the weir for a period of five years, or till the termina- 
tion of the war, whichever should prove to be the longer time. 
The permit, however, was not to be taken as a decision on 
any question pertaining to the right of the applicant to divert 
water from the St. Lawrence River.” 

Without doubt aluminum was needed for war purposes, and 
the Aluminum Company gave up its product to the Allied 
Governments for the same reasons that influenced many other 
manufacturers of war material — first l)ecause it probably wanted 
to help and second because if it had refused it would have been 
taken over by the governments and compelled to help. The 
cost of producing this metal by hydro-electric power being a 
pretty constant factor, and therefore little affected by war con- 



ditions, this company appears not to have suffered financially 
by the war, seeing that the New York price of aluminum, which 
had gradually dropped, till in 1914 it Avas 18.6c, was jumped 
to 60.7c in 1916, and down again to 33c in ton lots in 1920. 

While the Aluminum Company may not concern itself with 
questions of international goodwill the acquisition of more 
j w'ater poAver would undoubtedly strengthen it in a monoply 

which has already become a common danger. Apart from such 
an industrial menace, public opinion in Canada, which is dis- 
j tinctly opposed to the assumption of sovereign functions hy a 

i private company, has already been wounded by this act of 

trespass on the St. Lawrence. Further damage to the good 
relations of these tAvo countries will be avoided if public men 
realize that electric energy has become a twin element with the 
! use of water for navigation and that the control of such energy 

is now and henceforth as much a public right as navigation 
I itself. In public economy the two uses cannot now be separ- 

f ated. Ontario’s rights to the power of the St. Lawrence arc 

as well established as its rights on the Niagara or the Severn ; 
or as is the right of the Federal Government to the function of 
f navigation. 

The mutual interests of the people of Canada and the 
United States in the inland Avaterways of the continent were 
thought to have been amicably adjusted by the ReciprocitA^ 
Treaty. It was the first reciprocity treaty made by the United 
States, also the first negotiated in behalf of Canada. After 
)i starting out on her voyage, freighted with so much promise of 
good will to all nations, the good ship “ Reciprocity ” was 
destined to he wrecked in the Rapids of the St. Lawrence. It 
will be enlightening, therefore, to recall the causes of this dis- 
1 aster. 

The first thing to comprehend is, that the internatioiial 
problems which the Reciprocity Treaty failed to settle, are noAV 
thrust back upon us for review. The interests now to be dealt 


hydeo-electhic development in ontakio 

with are far wider, more complex and demand the ^ 

lightened treatment of a new statesmanship. Bnt behold a 
new element never dreamt of during the framing of he trea , 
arises to confront the new statesmen, namely, the mutual rig t. 

to the hydro-electric energy of the St. 
the standpoint of the next ten years who can doubt that to t 

people of Ontario the water power is the more vital of t 

the Eeciprocity Treaty was framed 
Provinces gave proof of the sincerity of their goo wi ow ^ 
their neighbors. The improvements to the navigation of the 
St Lawrence had been achieved at a cost that eavi y nr 
Lr slender resources, and now these advantages w- accor d 
to United States vessels on the same terms as to Canadian 

vessels. The Canadians confidently expected that« 
equality of treatment would be given to heir ^ 
can waters-indeed, although the navigation of the Erie Canal 
was considered a State right, the United States Congress 
took to use its good offices to secure like privileges Canad a^ 
ships on that route. Congress counselled reciprocity 
ment, but the admonition of the Federal authority was received 



at Albany and New York almost as a joke. The truth uas^ 

that while the new American West was f 
rapidity and panting for freer access to the 
private transportation interests then dominated tra c o y 
™ter and land. The Erie Canal interests were allowed to 

the scraps and leavings of profits while the rai way 
lived up to the theory of the time, and exacted heaviest toll 

that could be taken. They could not see that 
thousand tons of traffic might be turned from the Erie Cai a 
down the St. Lawrence a million tons of traffic would flow into 

the expanding realms of the States west of the Great Lakes, 
sordid, selfish conception seems to have mastered tie ram- 
portation interests of the time, and even the new prosperity 


View of Healey Falls, which supplies part of the power for the roniniisHioii’s 

Central Ontario .System. 



witli are far wider, more complex and demand the '''' 

lightened treatment of a new statesmanship. f 

new element never dreamt of during the framing of he treat , 
arises to confront the new statesmen, namely, the mutual r.£ts 

to the hvdro-electrie energy of the St. ; and 

the standpoint of the next ten years who can doubt that to t 
people of Ontario the water power is the more vital of the two 

'’“'whef the Reciprocity Treaty was framed ^anadi^^^ 
Frovinces gave proof of the sincerity of their goo wi < > 
their neighbors. The improveinents to the navigation of 
St Lawrence had been achieved at a cost that heaii j luimic 
their slender resources, and now these advantages 
to United States vessels on the same terms as u ^ 
vessels The Canadians confidently expected that simila 
enullitv of treatment would be given to their vessels in Amerl- 
cL waters-indeed, although the navigation of the Eric Canal 
was considered a State right, the United States 
took to use its good ollices to secure like privileges « 

ment, but the admonition of the Fed«al umhorRy was jce.«^^^ 
at \lbaiiv and New \ovk almost as a joke, 
that while the new American West was developing with amazing 
rapiditv and panting lor freer access to the outer world, the 
private transportation interests then dominated traffic both by 
later and land. The Erie Canal interests were allowed to take 

the scraps and leavings of profits while the railway 

lived up to the theory of the time, and exacted the heaviest toll 

that could be taken. They could not see that while a huiidre 

thousand tons of traffic might be turned from «'» ‘ 

down the St. Lawrence a million tons of traffic won d How into 
the expanding realms of the States west of the Great Lakes. A 
sordid, selfish conception seems to have mastered le rai . 
portation interests of the time, and even the new prosperity 





which came to the border cities of New York State, such as 
Buffalo, Rochester, Oswego and Syracuse, as the result of the 
easy access to the northern markets across Lake Ontario during 
the Reciprocity Treaty, only excited the envy of the private 
transportation powers. There were times when the cost of 
getting grain from the Western States to the American sea- 
board exceeded the price which the grower got at the point of 
shipment. At a great convention of chambers of commerce 
at Detroit in 1865, where the treaty was favored, the Buffalo 
and other elevator interests were denounced as extortionists, 
w'hose profits in a single year covered the cost of their invest- 
ment. The Reciprocity Treaty, after an existence of less than 
twelve years was abrogated in 1866 by the United States. From 
that time the hopes of Canada were inspired by a new ambition 
—the creation of the Canadian Confederation— and reciprocity 
gradually ceased to be the mainspring of Canadian policy. 

And now there is a fresh spirit stirring. While the private 
railway corporations of the United States no longer have un- 
limited sway over transportation, the States west of the Great 
Lakes have a voice which no Congress will now attempt to 
silence. More than ever the W'estern States and Provinces 
need a more open channel to and from the sea, and the St. 
Lawrence route only can afford this free-way. Besides the 
Canadian western provinces, fifteen American States west of 

* Estimates of New York OutlooTc 
10 139 



* Estimates of New York Outlook 
10 139 


failed to admit Canadian ships on equal terms to the United 
States’ waters as was expected, Sir John Macdonald, the first 
Premier of the Confederation, continued the equality of privi- 
leges to United States vessels on the St. Lawrence route after 
the Reciprocity Treaty was abrogated, and no Premier since his 

day has altered his policy. 

With scandalous laxness the Dominion Government has 
allowed lake freight control to drift as it might till the 
net results of the toil of the western farmer are so diminished, 
and the cost of all he buys so increased by high freight that it 
would have been better had no pretense been made of giving 
cheap water freights. After spending over $250,000,000,* not 
counting several millions each year for lighthouses and safe- 
guards to navigation — the Federal Government without restric- 
tion, turns over the right of way to this marvelous system of 
water transport to private corporations whose power to increase 
the people’s taxes by higher freight rates is unchecked, and 
whose monopoly of lake terminals is more injurious than any- 
thing yet inflicted on the Canadian people. 

In 1908, before the merger of the Canada Steamship Lines 
was formed and before it had reached a common understanding 
with lake lines under control of the railway companies, the 
freight on wheat was 2^/20 a bushel from Port Arthur or Fort 
William to Montreal; now it is lie a bushel. With a corre- 
sponding increase in freights going from the east to the western 
provinces the load of public taxation thrown on the country 
will be realized when it is stated that in 1916, the freighter 
J. H. 0. Haggerty, charging a rate of 5c a bushel from Fort 
William to Port Colborne earned approximately $273,000, or 
more than the cost of building the steamer, when launched in 

* In a speech in the House of Commons, April 27th, 1920, Mr. 
J. E. Armstrong, proposing that the traffic of the inland waters of 
Canada be placed under the Board of Bailway Commissioners, estimated 
the cost of our waterway improvements at over $400,000,000. 



1914, and she expected to carry six more cargoes before the 
season closed. Competent authorities* state that a ton of 
freight can be shipped 900 to 1,000 miles by boat at the same 
rate as it can be carried 100 miles by rail. Whatever the 
difference, it will be clear from the principles set forth in the 
first chapter that these increases are public taxes paid by the 
people of Canada, and that the revenues represented in these 
increases over the cost of moving the freight are diverted from 
public to private uses when a few private individuals are 
allowed the uncontrolled exercise of a State function, one com- 
pany alone taking over half a million a year from the Canadian 
taxpayers in profits on lake freight business. 

During 1920 a special commission acting under the Inter- 
national Joint Commission has been taking evidence on the 
problems involved in deepening the St. Lawrence canals. This 
commission has already gathered a mass of valuable informa- 
tion, obtained at meetings held in various centres in Canada 
and the United States, chiefly in the lake regions and in the 
Western States and Provinces. Speaking generally opinion in 
these regions has been emphatically in favor of the navigation 
improvements, and the electric power developments incidental 
to them. In Manitoba some public bodies, while not objecting 
to the St. Lawrence improvements give the preference to the 
freight outlet by the Hudson Bay route as the first need for 
that province. Alone of all the States concerned, the private 
railway, canal, and power interests of New York oppose the 
project. There is not space to deal with these opinions, but 
reference may be made to the argument of a body representing 
New York transportation interests. This was that the St. 
Lawrence improvements would not aid ocean traffic, because 
of all the freight developed on the Erie Canal only about 
10,000,000 tons traversed salt water, the bulk of the lake and 
canal freight being absorbed by inland demands. This argu- 

* Interstate Commerce Commission Report. 






ment shows a misconception of the service of water transporta- 
tion. As is notably the case in well canalized regions like 
Belgium, Holland, Northern France and parts of Germany, 
the cruder forms of freight such as stone, lumber, ores, coal, 
etc., seek the canals and rivers to which they are best adapted, 
but’ this is a public benefit not a disadvantage, as it leaves the 
railways free for manufactured products and the more perish- 
able freights, such as foodstuffs requiring quicker delivery. It 
is the co-ordination of the waterways and railways that the 
people need; just now, also, it is relief from freight congestion 
that is wanted, and if such waterways as the New York canals 
could double the extent of this relief for the railways, the public 
advantage would not be lessened though not a ton of freight 

went overseas. 

If, without interfering with one another’s sovereignty, each 
country accorded the other access on equal terms to the inland 
waters of the whole continent, with free ingress and egress 
from the ocean to the upper lakes through deep water channels, 
a new life would come to the commerce of all those regions east 
of the Rocky Mountains. To bring ocean traffic direct to these 
regions would so freshen the arteries of trade that even such 
questions as the effect on the present « head of navigation ” at 
Montreal would be forgotten in the greater good to the greater 
area. The annual cost of maintenance of the new sea-way 
might be pooled as long as the privileges were mutually ex- 
tended. Apart from this enlarged freedom, the acquisition of 
two million horse-power of hydro-electric energy to be equally 
divided would be a public advantage which in time would 
exceed the benefits of the improved navigation. 

Since this chapter was prepared a new organization, known 
as the Canadian Deep Waterways and Power Association, has 
been formed with headquarters in Toronto for the purpose of 
collecting and disseminating information on the benefits of 
deepening the inland waters of Canada to admit ocean ships. 





' Fiat Justicia — The Commission and the Law. 

! The first step taken by the municipalities towards managing 

( their own affairs, in supplying themselves with power and light, 

was opposed in the case of Toronto by an injunction to restrain 
I the city from carrying out its plans, and at frequent intervals 

since then attempts have been made by the private corporations 
to use the courts to thwart the other municipalities and the 
Commission in like manner. These corporations have sought 
to make it appear that the clauses in the Hydro-Electric 
Acts protecting the Commission from vexatious legal attacks 
were an after-thought designed to rob the companies of right 
and justice. The clauses, however, were in the original Act 
creating the Commission ; and not only do they accord with like 
protection afforded to the universities from legal annoyances 
but they appear in exactly the same terms in all the constitu- 
tions of the power commissions established by the other Pro- 

Not satisfied with their actions in the Ontario courts the 
private companies laid before the Dominion Parliament a 
petition seeking to upset the power legislation of 1909 ; but as 
shown by the report of the Attorney-General of Ontario, issued 
under the title of “ The Answer of the Government of Ontario 
to the Application for Disallowance of the Power Legislation 
of the Session of 1909,” the Ontario Government stood in 
defence of its well-defined rights. 

' If such a question is approached from the standpoint of the 

legal controversialist, volumes might be written on either side; 

' but if we desire to seek the righteousness of the cause the ques- 

tion becomes simple. Law may be divorced from righteousness, 

‘ 143 



and when it is so divorced it 'becomes an instrument of wrong. 
To use the comprehensive phrase ol St. Paul, the strength of 

sin is the law. 

We have seen that the rates and charges collected from the 
people for public utilities are a form of taxation, and that a 
public service corporation has no other legitimate revenue 
except such rates. Is it not therefore a monstrous wrong for a 
company holding a delegated power to draw revenues from the 
public and then to use those very revenues in the courts to 
prevent the people from recovering their rights? If these 
vexatious actions were admitted, local self-government would 
be at an end. 

Another misuse of the law to stultify local self-government 
must be pointed out. According to section 92 of the British 
North America Act, when the Dominion Parliament declares 
any work in any province is “ for the general advantage of 
Canada ” such work is by that declaration taken from the Juris- 
diction of the province. Under shelter of this clause, when- 
ever a scheme is afoot which is against the interests of the 
province or its municipalities, the promoters, avoiding the front 
entrance go round by the back door through an Act of the 
Dominion Parliament. Here they have frequently found in 
time past that the more a scheme is for the disadvantage of the 
province the easier it is to get a de<daration that it is for the 
general advantage of Canada.” In the sanctuary of this clause 
has 'been hatched many a project which, starting as a violation 
of the fundamental rights of the province or municipality, 
becomes a perpetuated incubus thro\igh a ruling of the Imperial 
Privy Council. But for the stand taken hy Ontario years ago 
in regard to the “rivers and streams” question and later on 
in the power question, such an incubus would have been solidly 
seated on the chests of the people to-day. 

We must not, however, be uncharitable to those who saw 
at that early date the coming era of electrical power and who 



had the courage to step in where governments feared to tread. 
When governments did wake up there had grown up a certain 
amount of toleration of the perversion then common outside 
as well as inside of the law courts, that a State prerogative 
might be dealt with as if it were the good will of a private 
business. But this conception is out of harmony with the 
divine order and with the basic principles of a commonwealth 
in which the elements of nature should be open on equal terms 
to all. These powers of nature were never created by the men 
who presume to fence them off, for sale on terms, but were 
bestowed by the Creator for the benefit of mankind at large. A 
private company has as much right, and no more, by virtue of 
a power house, to capitalize the water of Niagara, as Priestley 
the discoverer of oxygen would have had in patenting that 
element and capitalizing its future uses in science and com- 
merce. Sir Humphrey Davy, whose discoveries in 1800 opened 
the field of electric lighting and power, had more ground for 
a perpetual franchise on the commercial uses of electric energy 
than have the builders of the machinery now used to put the 
energy into service. Robert Fulton, the designer of the first 
steamboat in the United States, obtained a perpetual franchise 
for operating steamers on the Hudson River. The claim, 
which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of 
the United States, was more reasonable than that of the power 
franchise holders, for they are in no case the original inventors 
of the primary machinery by which they utilize the hydraulic 
power. The power companies have the right to be paid for 
their bona fide expenditures on the equipment, but the element 
of the water power itself must be separated in the valuation. 
That natural resource was already there — the “ gift of God,” to 
use the Mohammedan water-carrier’s cry — and cannot in this 
age be perverted into an endowment fund for the advantage of 
a private person or company. 

A twin perversion has been built up on the theory that a pub- 



lie service when entrusted to a private person may be made the 
basis of a claim for good will when surrendered. Such a theory, 
often acted on in the past, is inconsistent with the principles 
of self-government. If it were conceded we would then admit 
that if one of the executive functions, say the administration of 
justice, were relegated to a private company of judges, that 
corporate body would sell its delegated functions for a money 
consideration when the State resumed its authority. Every 
judge would repudiate such a degrading estimate of their office 
and duty. The newer conception of what is due to the public 
from the services that are essential to the common welfare is 
well expressed by Franklin K. Lane, United States Secretory 
of the Interior, when he said : “We should guard against 
extortion during the use and ensure the return of the resource 
to the people at the termination of the license, if the people 
want to take it back, by refunding the net investment.” 

Reasoning from these premises, three axioms may be estab- 
lished : 

1. The public may not be deprived of nature’s resources for 
private advantage nor may these resources become an element 

in the valuation of a franchise. 

2. The legislation of one generation cannot abolish the 
liberties and rights of another, and hence the theory and prac- 
tice of the “ perpetual franchise ” must be abandoned. 

3. When a self-governing state revindicates a public func- 
tion entrusted to a private person such a revindication is no 
ground for a claim of good will. 

If those engaged in promoting private enterprises with 
foreign capital raise the cry of “confiscation” or injury to 
the financial interests of Canada, when the expectations of 
these capitalists are not fulfilled, it is right to ask the question, 
“How can a man be robbed of that which he never possessed 
and to which he could not lay claim without an outrage upon 



the elementary rights of the community?” If an investor is 
so simple as to imagine that he can capitalize the powers of 
Heaven and Earth against the community to whom these 
powers rightfully belong, he should look for compensation to 
the promoters who promised him the impossible. 

Thirty years ago when water powers were thought of as a 
local asset of only local use, such a theory might have been 
accepted, but the intervening years of advance in science and 
education have brought a different conception of public rights. 
The hydro-electric resources of the province are now regarded 
as a community right. The community will grant the reason- 
ableness of a private company’s claim to a return on the cost of 
the equipment needed to put the resource to public use, but will 
not admit as a private right that which no man or no company 
of capitalists could create. If men are to maintain their 
freedom they must not allow the elements of air, water and 
electricity to become the subject of taxation for private advan- 


Review of Present Operating Conditions. 

For years the antagonists of the Hydro-Electric Commission 
have concentrated their batteries of argument to show that it 
would be impossible to distribute electric power and maintain 
the service at the rate actually charged by the municipalities, 
and there was no lack of testimony from experts working under 
conditions of private company ownership. To show that the 
public ownership policy was based on a theory financially im- 
practical, a volume was published in the United States, fol- 
lowed by pamphlets and shoals of editorials from partisan 
journals in Canada, basing their statements on the predictions 
of this writer. It was difficult to disprove a prophecy in 
advance of the period set for its fulfilment, but the lapse of 
time has relegated these predictions to the scrap heap of 
economic fallacies. Financial results which were pronounced 
impossible have actually been attained, and the municipalities 
and the Commission are more sure than ever that they 
are on solid ground. More than that, these results have been 
achieved during an era of disturbance without example in the 
history of civilization. A world-wide scarcity of food supplies, 
of the raw materials of industry, of the means of transportation 
and of efficient labor have coincided with a universal confusion 
in public finance. With such a combination of adverse events 
no reasonable person would ha\'e been surprised if a general 
and radical increase of rates had been required throughout the 
territory serv'ed by the Commission. That these increases, 
where made, have been only fractional, and that a number of 
the municipalities have been able to reduce their rates while 
others are in a position to free themselves from their debenture 




^ebt — or, so to speak, burn their mortgages — is an outcome 
that should confound the prophets of evil. 

Since these pages were prepared the first volume of the 
twelfth annual report of the Commission, covering the year 
ending October, 1919, has been published. The introduction 
to this report gives a conservative, but illuminating statement 
of the enormous operating obstacles overcome by the Commission 
in providing power for war purposes in the first years of the 
conflict and then in converting this power to peace purposes 
when the Armistice was proclaimed in 1918. The Commission 
supplied power to over 400 plants on munitions, and these 
plants for the time took up 70 per cent, of the total power of 
the Commission’s systems. To keep up the war work large 
extensions to various plants had to be made, and as the equip- 
ment was not to be had in Canada the Commission was in- 
volved in an outlay for customs duties and war taxes of over 
$65^,000 for imported machinery. The increasing cost and 
the decreasing efficiency of labor — when so many of the best 
men of the country were at the war — also added to the unfore- 
seen expenses of the systems, yet with all these adverse condi- 
tions the rates fixed by the Commission at the beginning of the 
year were exceeded by only 31/2 per cent. Forty municipalities 
were able to reduce their rates in this critical year, and of the 
twenty which had to increase rates a number of the increases 
were due to the interruption of power demands by stoppage of 
the munitions industry and before peace industries could be 


If the power services of the Commission’s Systems had be- 
longed to private firms, they could no doubt have taken up war 
work and then adjusted themselves to peace conditions, but 
it is certain that Government compulsion would have been 
required in many cases; it is equally certain that the private 
profits on which they had been operating before the war would 
have been notoriously increased at the public expense, as they 




were in the United States and Great Britain under like cir- 
cumstances. But the Hydro-Electric Commission made these 
astonishing transformations voluntarily without the slightest 
abandonment of its principle of service at cost, yet so swift have 
been, the re-adaptations of its service since the war that to-day 
it is unable to supply the demands for 'its power. 

The second volume of the annual report for 1919 contains 
some new tables of returns from the municipalities which should 
allay the alarms sounded by the organs of private ownership. 
One of these tables gives the percentage of net debt to the total 
assets of the hydro municipalities from 1913 to 1919. These 
figures show a drop in the pro])ortion of debt from 88 per cent, 
in 1913 to 67.1 per cent, in 1919, and this decrease is remark- 
able for its regularity, the reduction of net debt being almost 
uniform at about 4 per cent, per year. At present 90 per cent, 
of the power financing is done by payments of equal annual 
amounts which might have been reduced from thirty or forty 
year debentures to twenty year debentures. With the same 
municipal revenues, and the same expenditures the annual 
reductions of the power debts have increased as above 
stated. These striking facts show that the original financial 
calculations of the Commission and the hydro municipalities, 
instead of being wild and reckless as alleged by their opponents, 
have been conservative and safe. The accuracy of the tables 
now presented have been tested by the auditors, and they 
demonstrate that the experience of the co-operative system has 
met every criticism, of municipal ownership and operation as 
carried on under the Commission. 

It is not unjust to point out that private lighting and power 
companies in Canada and United States cities in behalf of 
whom superior efficiency and economy is claimed, have in many 
noteworthy cases raised their rates at the same time that the 
hydro municipal corporations have kept their rates to the low 
levels or have actually reduced them. 




More convincing still is a tabulated statement taken from 
the same report for 1919, showing the financial record of the 
twelve municipalities who were the pioneers in the movement. 
Though the contracts with the Commission were signed in 
1908 it was not till the close of 1912 that electric power was 
delivered to these twelve municipalities. The combined power 
load of the twelve was 16,615 h.p.; in 1919 the maximum load 
was 90,799 h.p. The total investment was $13,360,822, and 
these obligations have been reduced to $11,432,267, while the 
surplus and reserves against the balance of debt amount to 
$5,550,769. Eight of the twelve municipalities now have 
sufficient reserves to their credit to cover all their outstanding 
debts, and yet, in spite of advancing costs of labor and ma- 
terials reductions of power rates have been made among the 
twelve ranging from $4 to $9 per year. 







Stratford . . . . 
St. Thomas . . . 
Woodstock . . 

Kitchener . . . . 
Hespele'r . 


Waterloo . . . 

New Hamburg 
Ingersoll . 


$10,221,824 59 
1,247,591 51 
265,060 70 
311,769 71 
263,284 76 
192,958 89 
444,935 20 
36,999 09 
123,128 81 
117,535 70 
27.423 41 
108,309 90 

$13,360,822 27 

Other Assets. 

$2,504,232 48 
465,854 74 
128,081 34 
85,643 03 
81,607 28 
117,455 39 
91,340 95 
13.282 58 
32,165 84 
28.983 24 
9,979 94 
63,587 79 

$3,622,214 60 


London . ... 


Stratford .... 
St. Thomas . . . 
Woodstock . . . 
Kitchener .... 




New Hamburg 


$9,436,279 32 
939,315 46 
127,731 62 
218,317 36 
106,361 92 
126,086 57 
225,684 68 
18,962 47 
69,411 37 
60,242 89 
17,267 80 
86,605 69 

$11,432,267 15 

$3,059,205 00 
411,314 91- 
127,805 73 
143,810 90 
103,862 68 

99.460 43 
194,794 64 

24.504 75 

57.504 35 
45,332 98 
11,537 42 

40.460 93 

$4,319,594 71 


$230,572 75 
362,815 88 
137,604 69 
35,284 48 
134,667 45 
84,867 28 
115,796 83 
6,814 45 
28.378 93 
40,943 07 
8,598 13 
44,831 07 

$1,231,175 QJ. 



Sir Adam Beck. 

Since the Confederation epoch no movement affecting the 
home affairs of Canada is causing such profound changes in 
legislation and economics as the creation of the Hydro-Electric 
Power Commission of Ontario, whose work is gaining its real 
momentum in the extension of the province’s hydraulic energy 
from lighting and power services to electric railways. The 
reader who has followed this brief history would be lacking in 
human sympathy if the record closed without some personal 
reference to Sir Adam Beck. He is the recognized leader of 
this remarkable crusade against a Saracen legion, which a few 
short years ago held the public services as a private property 
right, like the old law of entail. It seemed a special Providence 
that brought a man of his unconquerable courage into the arena 
at a crcisis when but for this courage and foresight the en- 
trenched private interests dominating public offices, and acting 
on the timidity and mutual suspicions of municipal councillors 
untrained in co-operative organization, would have left the 

movement a wreck on the reefs with which municipal history is 

Sir Adam Beck’s public life may be said to have begun by 
his election as Mayor of London, Out., in 1902. He was re- 
elected in 1903 and 1904, and in the first year of his mayoralty 
he was also selected as a candidate for the Legislature. This 
election he won and the event determined his future public 
career, for he became a member of the Ontario Legislature at 
a turn in public opinion which brought about the defeat of 
the Boss Administration three years later. One of the lapses 




which condemned that Government was the easy way in which 
the water powers of the province and the control of valuable 
mineral and pulpwood tracts were allowed to pass into the 
hands of private persons who had a keener understanding than 
Cabinet Ministers of the value of such concessions. When 
Adam Beck, as Mayor of London, attended his first meeting 
of the representatives of the few municipalities investigating 
the electric power problem, he frankly stated that he came to 
learn. He proved an alert pupil, and it was not long after he 
came to learn that he remained to lead. 

During twelve years of his most self-denying exertions in 
the cause of public ownership he refused to accept a cent of 
salary, and his devotion gave an example which explains in great 
measure the efficiency of the civil service which has grown up to 
do the Commission’s expanding work. Wherever a situation was 
in doubt, or when a “Hydro” campaign was on, he was at hand 
to help, and the more hopeless the prospects the more certain 
he was to face the foe. At Hamilton, when the question whether 
that city would favor a publicly-owned system of electric rail- 
ways came up for a vote, outside observers abandoned hope. 
Every city paper opposed the plan with streams of statistics 
and panic-raising predictions, and adverse arguments were 
strengthened by a report of an unofficial commission of 
engineers, composed, of course, of gentlemen in the service of 
private railway companies. But more staggering still there 
was opposed to him the accumulated influence of a corporation 
having financial interests more thoroughly dove-tailed into the 
business and social life of the city than in any centre, perhaps, 
in the province. Yet, Sir Adam suddenly faced this Philistine 
host a few days before the campaign closed and on the day of 
voting, won a David’s triumph by bearing away the head of 
the Goliath. 

His battles in the Legislature were fought on the same 



unequal terms as those against private corporation conspiracies 
and against the frank and open opponents in the business com- 
munity. In the period from 1903 to 1919, during which he 
was a member of the Cabinet, he had to contend against the 
attacks of avowed opponents and the precarious help of uncer- 
tain friends, and more than once these intrigues failed of suc- 
cess only by a miracle. Partj- politics played no part in his 
plans, and his recognition of a genuine friend in or out of the 
House helped him throughout many a crisis. 

When the two old parties were swamped in the provincial 
elections of 1919 and the agricultural and labor interests took 
the responsibilities of control. Sir Adam was defeated in 
London. The defeat was due to his absorption in the electric 
railway campaign he was waging on his own account in eastern 
Ontario, and to his refusal to have outside friends come to his 
help. The election was an illustration of the amount of harm- 
ful tares that may be sown in a community in a night. No 
citizen had done more for the social welfare and for the public 
institutions of London than he, and no woman could have given 
a husband more whole-souled support in such work than Lady 
Beck. He and Lady Beck, for instance, had founded and spent 

manv thousands of dollars and much time on the Queen 


Alexandra Sanitarium, and besides the rejuvenation of the 
London and Port Stanley Raihvay there were many civic works 
by promoting which he had earned the confidence of the 
citizens. There were many evidences, after the election, of 
regret by the citizens that through deft electioneering methods 
of the opponent they had been caught napping. As for opinion 
outside, that was sufficiently attested by the remarkable demon- 
stration since the election, when representatives of four hundred 
municipalities met in Toronto to express their unshaken con- 
fidence in Sir Adam Beck, and their recommendation that his 
appointment as Chairman be made for a period of years, instead 


Col. Sib Adam Beck, Kt., LL.D., 

Chairman, Hvdro-Elcetric Power Commission of Ontario. 


unequal terms as those against private corporation conspiracies 
and against the frank and open opponents in the business com- 
munity. In the period from 1903 to 1919, during which he 
was a member of the Calnnet, he had to contend against the 
attacks of avowed opponents and the precarious help of uncer- 
tain friends, and more than once these intrigues failed of suc- 
cess only by a miracle. Party politics played no part in his 
plans, and his recognition of a genuine friend in or out of the 
House helped him throughout many a crisis. 

When the two old parties were swamped in the provincial 
elections of 1919 and the agricultural and labor interests took 
the responsibilities of control. Sir Adam was defeated in 
London. The defeat was due to his absorption in the electric 
railway campaign he was waging on his own account in eastern 
Ontario, and to his refusal to have outside friends come to his 
help. The election was an illustration of the amount of harm- 
ful tares that may be .sown in a community in a night. No 
citizen had done more for the social welfare and for the public 
institutions of London than he, and no woman could have given 
a husband more whole-souled support in such work than Lady 
Beck, He and Lady Beck, for instance, had founded and spent 
many thousands of dollars and much time on the Queen 
Alexandra Sanitarium, and liesides the rejuvenation of the 
London and Port Stanley Railway there were many civic works 
by promoting which he had earned the confidence of the 
citizens. There were many evidences, after the election, of 
regret by the citizens that through deft electioneering methods 
of the opponent they had been caught napping. As for opinion 
outside, that was sufficicntlv attested by the remarkable demon- 
stration since the election, when representatives of four hundred 
municipalities met in Toronto to express their unshaken con- 
fidence in Sir Adam Beck, and their recommendation that his 
appointment as Chairman be made for a period of years, instead 





of from year to year, while the municipalities should be repre- 
sented with him on the Commission. 

Sir Adam Beck has, of course, a hobby. This hobby is 
horses, his interest in which is heartily shared by his wife. 
They have been winners at many of the great horse shows. Even 
in this. Sir Adam and Lady Beck bend their enthusiasm to the 
national advantage, for during the war, as Director of Remounts 
for Canada, he rendered important service in selecting horses 
for the Canadian Army. Sir Adam’s domestic life has been of 
the happiest and his affection for his wife and child is one of 
the finest traits of his personality. Had Lady Beck’s devotion 
to him been less unselfish his leadership in the cause he made 
his own could not have been what it is. 

He was presented at court with Lady Beck in 1909 and 

received the honor of knighthood in 1914. 

The story of Sir Adam’s public life is after all more 
eloquently recorded in the great water power developments of 
Ontario, in the many industries created thereby and in the 
new spirit he has inspired in municipal life, than can be com- 
passed in a literary chronicle of these achievements. 

What is the secret of this remarkable career? It is his 
absolute fidelity to what he conceives to be the public interests ; 
and his unshakeable courage in battling for the people’s rights. 
This influence is great, because the communities for whom he 
has become the champion have an instinctive perception of his 
fidelity and answer faith with faith. 

11 i 155 




The Laboratories, Shops and Inspection Departments. 

In order to care for the production of certain special appara- 
tus and to effect emergency repairs, the Commission in 1912 
installed in Toronto a small shop equipped with one lathe and 
one drilling machine; at the same time a small testing bench 
was erected in another part of the building to carry out certain 
investigations in the performance of different types of incandes- 
cent lamps and recording and integrating meters. From this 
small beginning has developed the present ‘^Service Building” 
of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission at Strachan Avenue, 
Toronto, now employing a staff of technical men and workmen 
numbering 200. This braiding, ll'O ft. x 200 ft., of three 
stories and a basement, accommodates the present extensive 
Laboratories, the Production and Service Department and a 
portion of the Commission’s Stores. 

The present functions of these departments are quite varied, 
and developed more out of necessity than design. The voltage 
of the Niagara lines, 110,000, was the highest tried in Canada 
at that time and in the equipment of such lines many items 
were then required that were not obtainable in this country, 
hence it was better that the testing and making of these should 
be carried out under their own supervision. Then the trans- 
portation of supplies and protection against line troubles re- 
quired a number of trucks and motor cars, and this led to the 
establishment of the garage service and garages in different 
parts of the country. Tlie central shop at Toronto is used for 



major repairs on autos aud trucks, while each of the other 
garage depots — at Hamilton, Belleville, and Niagara Falls — 
has a shop for small repairs. Al)Out 200 trucks and cars are 
employed, ranging from half a ton to five tons capacity. It 
was found that certain special office fittings could be made at 
these shops to better advantage and this led to the equipment 
of a wood working shop which also served for the making of 
the packing cases for shipping lamps and supplies to the muni- 
cipalities. Hence the mechanical equipment now includes besides 
a carpentry and wood working shop, a machine shop, a repair 
shop and an assembling and fitting shop for such instruments 
and parts as can be made to advantage here. Nothing, however, 
is made at the shops which can be got more cheapl}^ or of better 
quality outside. The advantage of this shop service has been 
recently demonstrated in the extensive construction work at the 
Chippewa-Queenston power development mentioned elsewhere. 

Many new types of devices have been designed by the Com- 
mission’s own experts. Heaters for the municipal central 
stations, air-break disconnecting switches for high voltages, relay 
switches for street lighting, transformer parts, bus-bar fittings, 
telephone relays and special line equipment are among the 
normal services of the shops. 

The functions of the laboratories are testing, inspection and 
research. Under testing is included routine tests following a 
standardized method of procedure ; special tests in which each 
case is treated separately and not according to any standardized 

method; and “approval” testing. 

The routine testing is carried on in connection with many 
products or devices purchased under specification, such as in- 
candescent lamps, rubber gloves, meters, etc. Routine tests and 
inspections are also made on cements, steel and other metals, 
gasoline, lubricating oils and all kinds of structural materials. 

Special tests which cannot be prosecuted under a standard 



routine method are made on many new types of apparatus such 
as meters, insulators and many types of electrical apparatus, 
and on structural materials, such as paints and rust-proof com- 
pounds, building materials, fire protection devices, etc. 

The approval testing is a large and important part of the 
laboratory work. It supplements the electrical inspection ser- 
vice outlined in this chapter. This work includes the testing 
and examination of all kinds of electrical household appliances 
such as irons, toasters, etc., also wire, cable, switches — in short 
anything electrical in common use, which may cause fire or 
accident. A complete routine has been worked out and this 
is followed by the manufacturers and the laboratories so that 
a continuous record of the quality of these products is main- 
tained. The laboratory inspector visits the factories periodically 
and consults with the manufacturers regarding the results. This 
section of the laboratory is also doing a great deal of work in 
preparing standards for the design and construction of such 
devices. For purposes of consultation the Commission has ap- 
pointed a committee to work with the laboratories in the 
carrying on of this work. This committee contains representa- 
tives of the Commission and of engineering societies, contractors, 
jobbers and manufacturers of the Province, and is an impartial 
board, appointed to discuss any questions which may arise in 
the carrying out of this work by the Commission. 

This department also conducts inspection on many classes 
of material, such as steel for the construction of buildings, pen- 
stocks, surge tanks and other structures; steel rails, pipe, line 
construction material, and many other materials used in the con- 
struction work of the Commission. This inspection includes 
both the fabrication of the materials in the manufacturer’s shop 
and the erection of the structure in the field. 

The research work is very extensive in character and has 
to do chiefly with problems which arise in the design and 



operation of the system. Many of these problems are electrical, 
but some are of a mechanical and physical nature such as in- 
vestigation of methods of proportioning and mixing concrete 
materials. This investigation has been of value in effecting great 
economies in the use of cement on the large construction jobs 

of the Commission. 

Among the electrical problems investigated or still under 
investigation may be mentioned the following: Lightning 

arresters and lightning protection, insulators, high tension fuses, 
high tension current transformers, many theoretical studies of 
high tension problems, also “demand” meters, electric heating, 
and motion picture projectors. This department also does a 
great deal of special engineering work for other departments, 
which require calculations or studies of a theoretical nature. 

The divisions of the laboratories are : The High Tension and 
Electrical Testing Laboratory, The Approval Laboratory, The 
Meter and Standards Laboratory, The Structural Materials 
Laboratory, The Photometric Laboratory and the Photographic 
Section. A Chemical division was established in 1918. 

The testing equipment of these laboratories is in some re- 
spects the most complete in Canada. This is probably true of 
the lamp testing equipment— which is capable of tests on all 
classes of lamps at all voltages up to 220— and the high tension 
testing equipment. A new' type of volt-meter, involving a 
principle not hitherto applied to such instruments, has been 
designed by the Commission’s experts for measuring voltages 
up to 300,000. It stands 21 ft. high. Transformers are avail- 
able here for testing voltages up to 400,000 volts at 60 cycles, 
single phase. The structural laboratory is also completely 
equipped with testing machines of ranges up to 200,000 lbs. and 
the Cement Laboratory is also completely equipped. Careful 
records are kept of all tests. These records are possibly as 
complete as any made by any cement laboratory. 



The laboratory lias its own machine shop fitted with pre- 
cision lathes for making and repairing delicate laboratory 
equipment. ^Iiich time and money is saved in having this 
equipment, which makes it unneci'ssary to return meters and 
other apparatus to the manufacturers to be repaired and which 
also makes it possible for the laboratory to construct special 
equipment more cheaply than it can be purchased. A great 
convenience results from its being available to all members of 
the staff. It does not attempt any production work for other 

The staff at present numbers about fifty. About one-third 
of the staff are university graduates. The Laboratory co-oper- 

0 in its research programme 
and in 1917 a member of its staff was appointed for a period 
of six months to a research fellowship in the University. 

Before the creation of the Hydro-Electric Commission the 
inspection of electrical installations was a service carried on 
only in Toronto and two or three other cities by the Canadian 
Eire Underwriters’ Association. Inspection was not required by 
law, and was a voluntary service undertaken by the fire insurance 
companies to lessen the fire hazard. The only means the com- 
panies had of making it effective was by making a discriminating 
rate of insurance against uninspected premises. This situation 
was not satisfactory in the public interest, because insurance 
companies that were not members of the association, or indi- 
viduals who were not insured at all, could not be influenced to 
live up to the rules of safe wiring. A fire occurring in an 
uninsured place would destroy the good work of a whole neigh- 

An amendment of the Hydro-Electric Act passed in 1912, 
required all municipalities in Ontario, whether participants in 
the Hydro-Electric system or not, to appoint inspectors of elec- 
trical work within their own boundaries. A group of muni- 




cipalities might combine to have an inspector in common, but 
in such cases there was complaint of favoritism and complaint 
also over the apportionment of the costs. As each inspector 
carried out his own ideas there was great variation in the quality 
of the wiring, etc., approved by the different inspectors, while 
the costs of inspection increased. For the sake of uniformity, 
efficiency and economy the municipalities agreed to transfer the 
inspection service to the provincial commission. 

An Electrical Inspection Act was passed by the Ontario 
Legislature in 1915 and that Act applied to all wiring whether 
outside or within the areas served by the Commission. In con- 
sidering the means of administering this Act it was thought 
best to make use of the machinery already provided in the 
Hydro-Electric power areas, and for this reason the administra- 
tion of the Act was committed to the Commission, and con- 
firmed by amending Acts. 

The first result was that the inspection service which would 
have required approximately 200 inspectors under the local 
system is now more uniformly done by 54 inspectors, who carry 
out uniform rules, and render a service which has been regarded 
by both municipalities and the public as more satisfactory. The 
operation of the new system prov’ed so efficient that the 
insurance companies accepted the Commission s system and 
abandoned their own. 

The Commission’s engineers had been devoting much study 
to the improvement of existing appliances and to new apparatus 
intended for the better protection of life, and here, for the 
first time in the history of the regulation of electric wiring 
and installations, elementary consideration was given to the 
saving of human life as well as the saving of property. The case 
of a lady who met her death through a short circuit from an 
electric heater in a public institution led Mr. Justice Eiddell 
and Hon. W. Nesbitt to suggest that, for the better protection 


of life, electrical equipment should be under the control of the 

With the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council 
the Commission is empowered to make regulations as to the 
design, construction or operation of appliances for the genera- 
tion, transmission, distribution, connection and use of electrical 
energ}' whether by a commission, municipal corporation, private 
company or individual. The authority to inspect covers any 
railway, lighting or power company or any place where electric 
current is used, and the Commission may order such changes 
in the works as are necessary to protect the public or workmen 
or to protect premises from danger by fire. The costs of in- 
spection are partially paid by the fees or fines, and it may be 
noted that the scale of fees is as low as that of any other pro- 
vince and lower than most states of the American union. Failure 
to comply with an order of the Inspection Department after due 
notice is punishable by fines varying from $10 to $500. From 
premises in which there is defective wiring and where a remedy 
cannot otherwise be obtained, power may be disconnected. 
Nothing in the Act relieves a corporation, company or individ- 
ual of liability for damages for any defect in machinery or 
wiring, or on account of loss due to disconnections made by order 
of the Commission. 

A set of regulations has been prepared by the Inspection 
Department as a guide in construction methods and require- 
ments in operation. For the protection of the public the Com- 
mission now requires that all machinery and appliances used 
where the pressure exceeds 10 volts shall be passed upon by the 
department, as to its design and construction before it may be 
sold within the province. Permits for wiring and installing 
must be taken out before work is commenced, and no connec- 
tions for service of current shall be made till a certificate is 
given from the department. 



Kegulations are framed governing the installation of gen- 
erators, storage batteries, switchboards, lightning arresters, 
transformers, motors, electric cranes, electric signs, wireless 
telegraph apparatus, electric railway plant including the cars 
and all house, factory and office fittings. 

The permit system has improved the status of the electrical 
contractor by helping to eliminate the careless and incompetent. 

In the department’s printed regulations, helpful hints and 
illustrations are given, with tables and data for men engaged 
in installing machinery and fixtures ; and instructions are given 
for restoring persons suffering from electric shock or burns. 





^Vater Power Leases. 


During the latter half of the last century there was a long 
conflict between the Ontario and the Dominion Governments 
over the control of the rivers and streams, but those differences 
have been cleared away by judgments of the Imperial Pri \7 
Council, so that water power developments, except those inci- 
dental to canal works, etc., are left to the authority of the 
Province. Navigation is a prerogative of the Federal Govern- 
ment, and consequently no water power developnaent may be 
made either by private companies or the provincial government 
so as to interfere with river navigation without the consent of 
the Dominion Government; and, if a stream has been used 
for log-driving purposes, the lessee, in making a power site, 
must provide for safe passage of logs and timber. The principal 
regulations governing the development of water powers in 
Ontario are as follows : — 

A private applicant for a power privilege must first file 
in the Department of Lands, Forests and Mines a plan and field 
notes of an Ontario Land Surveyor, showing the land and the 
power required ; and an engineer’s report must be filed showing 
the height of the fall, the height of dam, the estimated capacity 
and the increased water level to be caused by the works; also the 
form of energy to be produced — hydraulic, electric, compressed 
air, etc., — and the nature of the industrial establishment to be 
carried on, with proof of the financial ability of the applicant 
to complete his plans. The Minister may require that the plans 
be submitted to the Hydro-Electric Commission for approval, 
and the work may not be started till such approval is given. 



The term of water power lease is twenty years, the lessee 
having the right of renewal for two successive terms of ten 
years each, on conditions fixed by the Minister. The annual 
rental to be charged is graded according to the number of horse 
power to be developed (the average being less than a dollar per 
horse power per year) the applicant depositing $500 or more as 
a guarantee that conditions shall be fulfilled. If there is a 
surplus of water beyond that required by the applicant, other 
parties must be permitted to use it on terms laid down by the 

On expiration of a lease the privilege reverts to the Crown 
though where permanent buildings have been erected the lessee 
may, on report of the Commission, be compensated therefor. 
A water power lease may be cancelled for non-compliance with 
the terms and conditions of the lease, or upon neglect of the 
lessee, for the period of one year, to produce power. 

Renewal of a lease does not necessarily perpetuate the 
terms of the original lease, but new terms may be fixed by the 
Minister after a report from the Commission. Where a larger 
development is required at or near the site expropriation pro- 
ceedings may be taken under the Arbitration Act. 

These regulations are not applied to water privileges having 
a capacity of less than 150 horse power at low water. 

Where a water power privilege is sought by a municipality 
for the purpose of supplying power, light or heat to its inhabit- 
ants, leases may be granted on any terms recommended by the 
Commission, and, as before explained, the Commission may 
itself create, or acquire, and operate any power site or power 
installation at present in private ownership, with or without 
the consent of the owner. 

While there is no ban upon the acquisition by a private 
individual of a water power, public opinion does not favor 
the operation of such privileges for private profit. Water 



’ / 

powers are more and more regarded as a great natural resource 
intended for the general benefit, and the authority of the Hydro- 
Electric Commission keeps full pace with this growing current 
of public opinion. At all events no private corporation, however 
wealthy, can hereafter monopolize such assets for direct profits 
on the scale permitted before the creation of the Commission. 

The rates which a licensee may charge consumers may be 
prescribed by the Commission. 

All leases are subject to any general regulations to be sub- 
sequently made by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, 

16 ») 



The New Niagara Generating Station. 

As an introduction to the appended sketch of the engineer- 
ing features of the various power systems operating under the 
Commission, a few general facts concerning the new Niagara 
generating station, known as the Queenston-Chippawa develop- 
ment, will be of public interest. 

When completed this will be the largest hydro-electric gen- 
erating station in the world and probably the most efficient. 
The machinery and construction plant has been provided by 
the Commission, and the construction carried on under its own 
engineers, who employ both skilled and unskilled labor. The 
pay roll has varied from 1,500 to 2,000 and for the accommoda- 
tion of the men a village of eighty houses and shops has been 
established on the land acquired by the Commission for the 
permanent works. The provisioning of the men is done in great 
part by food supplies raised on the Commission’s farms. 

The material from the canal, between the Chippawa (or 
Welland) river and the power house, a large part of it solid 
rock, is being removed by ten electric shovels, some of which 
are the largest in the world. These weigh from 300 to 375 tons, 
have a motor capacity of 750 horse power and are capable of 
excavating 3,000 to 5,000 cubic yards of earth per ten-hour day. 
The largest shovels can pick up 8 cubic yards, lift the load 
70 feet, dump into cars, and swing back for another load 
within one minute. A representative of the Engineering N ews- 
Record states that more earth-moving machinery is in operation 
here than on any work since the building of the Panama canal. 
Eock crushers are used so that material may be provided for 




reinforced concrete required for portions of the work and for 
the railway bridges over the canal. Practically all the plant 
is electrically driven, and on the 55 miles of track required in 
the construction work there are more electric locomotives than 
at present on all the railways in Canada. 

The survey for this work was made in 1914, and if the 
undertaking had been started Avhen a favorable report was 
first made, it would now have been finished, and there would 
liave been no acute shortage of power, as complained of at 
j) resent. 

The story of the Queenston-Chippawa enterprise is instruc- 
tive as an illustration of the development of the water powers 
under public ownership, compared with the inevitable outcome 
under private company domination. At the generating station 
of the new works there will be an effective head of 305 feet and, 
as the yield of power is in pro])ortion to the height through 
which the water falls, each cubic foot of water per second will 
give 30 horse power, as compared with about 15 horse power 
produced by the present plants operating at the Falls. The 
treaty between Canada and the United States allots the water 
on each side not by the horse power actually obtained, but by 
the volume of water diverted to the power houses. So it follows 
that if the whole treaty allotment of 36,000 feet per second 
on the Canadian side were used at the Queenston-Chippawa 
plant over a million horse power would be obtaiired, whereas 
the total energy available to the three private companies is 
405,000 horse power. These four generating and transmitting 
companies were capitalized at about $46,782,000 ; the estimated 
cost of the Queenston-Chippawa development— at a' time when 
material and other costs have about doubled— is $30,000,000, so 

that the relative economy for each unit of power can be easily 

It should therefore l)e beyond dispute that if the policy 



!1 . 

and the methods of development of the Hydro-Electric Com- 
mission had been carried out at an earlier date, the waste of a :i; 

vast amount of private capital would have been saved, and the 
people of the Province would have had power at an unpreced- 
entedly low cost and without fear of the famine which subse- 
quently ensued, and still obtains. 

During tbe past spring the Chippawa works were greatly 
hampered by strikes among the laborers for higlier wages. To 
have granted the demands would have meant an addition of 
$1,600,000 or more to the cost of the finished work. In the , 

interests of the Province this the Commission refused to do, 
and for a time the works were closed. The interval was used ' 

to obtain still more effective electrical power equipment and ;; 

as a result, it is expected that notwithstanding the delay caused 
by the strike it will still be possible to have at least two units 
installed and in operation by the fall of 1921, to make good 
the shortage prevailing throughout the territory of the Niagara 



Queenston-Cldiipawa Development . — The completion of 
this development, now under construction by the Hydro- 
Electric Power Commission will result in the installation of 
the largest hydro-electric plant now existing. The physical fea- 
tures of the development will extend from Hog Island at the mouth 
of the Welland Eiver, some two miles above the Falls, to a point on 
the Niagara Eiver one mile above Queenston known as Smea- 
ton’s Curve, and will include an intake, hydraulic canal, control 
works, forebay, headworks and generating station. From the 
intake at Hog Island, the canal, approximately 12 miles long, 
will convey water to the forebay located immediately above the 
headworks, the latter being located on the top of and near the 
edge of the Niagara Gorge. The first 4l^o miles of the canal, 



from Hog* Island to Montrose, will be part of the Welland 
Piver, now emptying into the Niagara Eiver, but whose flow 
will be reversed by means of dredging the necessary down grade 
as far as Montrose, from whence the canal will diverge from 
the river across country to the forebay. The latter will be 
1000 feet long and will widen out from canal width at its 
beginning to a width of 500 feet in front of the headworks. 
The canal will be cut largely through rock and in part through 
earth. The excavation for the forebay, headworks, penstocks, 
and generating station will be in solid rock. 

From the headworks water wdl be conveyed through nine 
steel penstocks, 16 feet in diameter at the upper end and 14 feet 
in diameter at the lower end, and one 5-foot diameter service 
penstock, all laid in trenches excavated in the gorge face and 
leading to the generating station in the gorge below. Each of 
the nine penstocks will supply a turbine of 52,500 horse power 
capacity under a head of 305 feet, when running at 187.5 
revolutions per minute. The turbines will be of the vertical 
single-runner type. They are the most powerful as yet designed 
and constructed, and will each be direct connected to a three 
phase 25 cycle generator, delivering power at 12,000 volts. A 
feature of the turbine foundations will be the provision of sub- 
basement tunnels, which will pei'mit of the lowering and re- 
moval of the turbine runners for renewal or repairs, thus 
obviating the usual necessity for dismantling the generator in 
order to remove the turbine runners. The generators will each 
be provided with an individual direct connected exciter. The 
initial installation will consist of four 52,500 horse power units, 
the remaining units being added from time to time in line with 
future power demands. All power transmitted from this plant 
will be carried at 110,000 volts. 

The Ontario Power Company . — This development, situated 
on the Niagara Eiver, was the pioneer of the extensive develop- 


r ill Wella-.ul River. (2) Cableway Excavator from East Bank 
(3) Site of the World’s Largest Power House. (-1) Drilling 
(5) Dredge loading scow opposite Hog Island, at the mouth of 




from Hog' Island to Montrose, Avill be part of the Welland 
IJiver, now emptying into the Niagara River, but whose flow 
will be reversed by means of dredging the necessary down grade 
as far as i\Iontrose, from whence the canal will diverge from 
the river across country to the forebav. The latter will be 

V 4- 

1000 feet long and will widen out from canal width at its 
beginning to a width of 500 feet in front of the headworks. 
The canal will be cut largely through rock and in part through 
earth. The excavation for the forebay, headworks, penstocks, 
and generating station will be in solid rock. 

From the headworks water will be conveyed through nine 
steel penstocks, 16 feet in diameter at the upper end and 14 feet 
in diameter at the lower end. and one o-foot diameter service 
penstock, all laid in trenches excavated in the gorge face and 
leading to the generating station in the gorge below. Each of 
the nine penstocks will supply a turbine of 52,500 horse power 
capacity under a head of 505 feet, w'hen running at 187.5 
revolutions per minute. The turbines will be of the vertical 
single-runner type. They are the most powerful as yet designed 
and constructed, and will each be direct connected to a three 
phase 25 cycle generator, delivering power at 12,000 volts. A 
feature of the turbine foundations will be the provision of sub- 
basement tunnels, which will permit of the lowering and re- 
moval of the turbine runners for renewal or repairs, thus 
obviating the usual necessity for dismantling the generator in 
order to remove the turbine runners. The generators will each 
be provided with an individual direct connected exciter. The 
initial installation wdll consist of four 52,500 horse power units, 
the remaining units being added from time to time in line with 
future power demands. All pow^r transmitted from this plant 
will be carried at 110,000 volts. 

The Ont-ario Power Compamj . — This development, situated 
on the Niagara River, was the pioneer of the extensive develop- 


Excuv:it*u* in iiivrr. i i *'al>leway Kxt'avntor irom Lust Piniik 

of Wi’lland Hivov. (ili Siti* of tho World’s I’owtT Houso. ■4; 

wall of Foroltav. o' I'rodj^'o l<»adiuo si*n\\ oppusito Hog Island, tit tin* inoulh ot 
tin* \V(*lhunl Hivor. 


merits installed on the Canadian side at Niagara Falls, It was 
commenced in 1903, the initial installation consisting of an 
intake, outer forebay, screen house, inner forebay, gate house, 
an 18 foot diameter steel main conduit 6,500 feet long termin- 
ating in an overflow, a six unit power house and a distributing 
station. The intake, forebay, screen and gate houses were com- 
pleted for the ultimate development, the gate house being 
arranged to serve three main conduits. The three above men- 
tioned structures are built entirely of concrete reinforced where 
necessary with steel, the superstructures presenting a massive 
and handsome appearance. The overflow building has a concrete 
substructure, the superstructure being of stone and designed to 
harmonize with the park surroundings. The distributing station 
is more ornate in character, being built of brick and cut stone. 
Water for the turbines is diverted from the Niagara Eiver above 
the Falls into the outer forebay by means of a submerged con- 
crete spill dam, reaching out from the Canadian shore, which 
also forms a discharge for ice or debris entering the forebay 
through its intake. The latter is 600 feet long and is constructed 
both as a wall of submerged arches and also as an ice fender. 

Subsequent additions to the plant, prior to 1917, in which 
year it was taken over and operated by the Hydro-Electric 
Power Commission, covered tlie addition of a second main 
conduit running parallel to and having the same sectional area 
as No. 1 conduit, but constructed of reinforced concrete with 
an oblate section, and terminating in a reinforced concrete differ- 
ential surge tank, the external features of which bear imposing 
architectural treatment. Eight additional units were installed, 
together wdth a central exciter pow'er plant. 

The last final extension to the plant, completed early in 1919, 
was designed and constructed by the engineering staff of the 
Hydro-Electric Power Commission and consisted of a third 
main conduit 13 feet 6 inches diameter, running parallel to 

12 171 

(1) Electric shovel ojieratin^ in rock. (2) Electric shovel excavating earth ami loading 
cars. (3) Power Canal, looking north from N. S. & T. Ky. bridge. (4) Power 
Canal from Bowman's Kavine. (d) Electric shovel at woik (these shovels are the 
largest in the world). (6) View through the Power Canal from the floor of the 



r t 


1 - 





ments installed on the Canadian side at Niagara Falls. It was 
commenced in 1902, the initial installation consisting of an 
intake, outer forebay, screen house, inner forebay, gate house, 
an 18 foot diameter steel main conduit 0,500 feet long termin- 
ating in an overflow, a six unit power house and a distributing 
station. The intake, forebay, screen and gate houses were com- 
pleted for the ultimate development, the gate house being- 
arranged to serve three main conduits. The three above men- 
tioned structures are built entirely of concrete reinforced where 
necessary witli steel, the superstructures presenting a massive 
and handsome appearance. The overflow building has a concrete 
sul)structure, the superstructure being of stone and designed to 
harmonize with the park surroundings. The distributing station 
is more ornate in character, being built of brick and cut stone. 
Water for the turbines is diverted from the Niagara River above 
the Falls into the outer forebay by means of a submerged con- 
crete spill dam, reaching out from the Canadian shore, which 
also forms a discharge for ice or debris entering the forebay 
through its intake. The latter is 600 feet long and is constructed 
both as a wall of submerged arches and also as an ice fender. 

Subsequent additions to the plant, prior to 1917, in which 
vear it was taken over and operated bv the Hvdro-Electric 
Power Commission, covered the addition of a second main 
conduit running parallel to and having the same sectional area 
as No. 1 conduit, but constructed of reinforced concrete with 
an oblate section, and terminating in a reinforced concrete differ- 
ential surge tank, the external features of which bear imposing 
architectural treatment. Eight additional units were installed, 
together with a central exciter power plant. 

The last final extension to the plant, completed early in 1919, 
was designed and constructed by the engineering staff of the 
Hvdro-Electric Power Commission and consisted of a third 


main conduit 13 feet 6 inches diameter, running parallel to 

V2 171 



conduits Nos. 1 and 2, built of wood stave and terminating in 
a steel differential surge tank. Two additional units were in- 
stalled and set ten feet lower than the preceding units, thus 
securing additional head. This extension was installed primarily 
as an emergency war measure, to meet the urgent and abnormal 

demand for power for the production of munitions and war 

Summarizing the unit capacity imde.r 180 feet net head, 
the first seven turbines develop 11,800 horse power each, the 
next fi\e 15,000 horse power eacli, the next two 16,000 horse 
power each and the last two 18,000 horse power each, making a 
total of 225,600 horse power installed capacity. When fully 
loaded, with all units in service, it is possible to carry approxi- 
mately 210,000 electrical horse power. This constitutes the 
largest output of power developed by any single plant up to 
the present time. 

Each turbine is direct connected to a 12,000 volt, 3 phase, 
25 cycle generator, the sixteen generators having a total capacity 
of 179,000 K.V.A. Each is excited with an individual motor 
generator set. The latter are served from the central exciter 
plant, which consists of two complete motor-turbo-generator 
sets, each including a turbine of 1600 horse power, served bv 
a 4 foot diameter penstock from No. 2 conduit driving a 900 
K.W., 3 phase, 25 cycle alternating current generator and a 
600 horse power induction motor capable 'of carrying the full 
load of the generator for a period of ten minutes and intended 
as an instantaneous relay on the turbine. Either main exciter 
unit is capable of carrying the entire exciter load of the plant. 
The turbines are all provided with relief valves and are regulated 
by automatic hydraulic pressure governors. Pressure rise and 
fall in the main conduits is taken care of by the overflow and 
surge tanks above mentioned. The generators are cooled through 
the medium of air ducts from the front and rear walls. The 





power house drainage system culminates in a common sump 
from which water is discharged by motor driven centrifugal 
pumps. Immediately in front of the overflow and surge tanks 
the three main conduits form distributors, from which steel ' 

penstocks varjdug in diameter from 9 feet to 10 feet 6 inches 
lead down through shafts excavated in solid rock to the turbines 
in the power house. Each penstock is furnished with a con- 
trolling valve located in a valve chamber immediately under- 
neath the distributors. These valves are all electrically operated, 
and, in common with all other power operations in connection 
with the plant, can be controlled from the main control room 
in the distributing station. The distributing system, from 
whence the output of the power house is controlled, is located ,i 

on the hill above the Gorge, and overlooks the Palls. A system ; 

of cable tunnels conveys the generator output from the power 
house to this building, which includes the Executive Offices of 
the Ontario Power Company, and from which energj’ is trans- . 

mitted over the Niagara System. Access to the power house, 
valve chambers, and distributing station is obtained by means 
of tunnels and elevator shafts from an entrance building, reached 
from the roadway above the Gorge, in Queen Victoria Niagara ij 

Palls Park. 

Erindale Development —Thh development, installed m 1910, j 

is situated on the Credit Piver about 8 miles above Lake Ontario, i 

was taken over by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission in 
1917, and included in the Niagara System. The plant includes 
an earth dam with core wall, 700 feet long and 35 feet high, ] 

from which a 900 foot concrete lined tunnel 12.5 feet diameter 
conveys water to a storage tank immediately adjoining the 
power house. Prom the tank water is supplied to two turbines j 

developing 1,000 horse power each under a 50 foot head, of ' 

the single runner single discharge type, the runners being located 
in the bottom of the tank. Each turbine is direct connected to 










i I 





a 600 K.W., 3 phase, 60 cycle generator, the latter each having 

a 60 K.W. belted exciter. The turbines are regulated by oil 
pressure governors. 


Biff Chute Development. — This development is situated on 
the Severn River at Big Chute, 9 miles from the mouth of the 
river. It was built in 1909, by the Simcoe Railway and Power 
Company and purchased by the Hydro-Electric Power Commis- 
sion in 1914. The development then included three units having 
a total capacity of 3,300 horse power served by one penstock. 
The Commission has recently developed the full capacity of the 
plant by the addition of a second penstock and one 2,300 horse 
power unit, the total capacity being 5,600 horse power under a 
head of 58 feet. The river above the development has a drain- 
age area of 2,265 square miles. Storage is obtained on Lakes 
Simcoe and Couchiching. A hydraulic canal, 350 feet long, 
conveys water from the river to the headworks. From the latter 
two steel penstocks 9 feet diameter and 150 feet long convey 
water to the power house. The hitter is built entirely of con- 
crete. The three original turbines are of the double-runner 
horizontal type in cylindrical casings, each of 1,100 horse power 
and direct connected to 900 K.V..\,., 3 phase, 60 cycle genera- 
tors. The fourth turbine is of the double-runner horizontal 
type in spiral casing with centre discharge, developing 2,300 
horse power and direct connected to a 1,600 K.V.A., 3 phase, 
60 cycle generator. Excitation is provided by two 100 K.W. 125 
volt generators, each direct connected to a 200 horse power 
turbine. Regulation is provided l)y automatic hydraulic gov- 
ernors. A steel surge tank terminates the penstocks which are 
inter-connected at the power house. A transmission line of 
103 miles long conveys energy from the power house at 22,000 



volts to Waubaushene, Penetanguishene, Barrie and Colling- 
wood, the system being tied into the Eugenia System at Colling- 
wood and also to the Wasdell’s Falls System. 


Wasdell’s Falls Development.— Thh development, situated 
on the Severn River three miles below Lake Couchiching, and 
completed in 1914, is notable for its low head and as being the 
first plant designed and constructed by the Hydro-Electric 
Power Commission. It includes a stop-log type concrete dam, 
power house and tail race, the power house forming a westerly 
extension of the dam. The drainage area of the river above 
the development is 2,080 square miles. Storage is obtained on 
Lakes Simcoe and Couchiching, the levels of which are regulated 
by the Department of Railways and Canals. The dam has a 
length of 110 feet, is 14 feet high, and is provided with six 
sluiceways, a spillway and a log chute. The power house is 
built entirely of concrete and contains two units developing 
a total capacity of 1,200 horse power. These are of the vertical 
shaft, double-runner, double-discharge type, set in open flumes, 
each direct connected to a 400 K.V.A., 3 phase, 60 cycle gen- 
erator. Excitation is provided by one 20 K.W. turbine driven 
and one 30 K.W. motor driven exciter, and regulation by oil 
pressure governors. A transmission line 46 miles in length 
conveys energy at 22,000 volts from the power house to Beaver- 
ton, and Cannington, and the Severn System. 


Euffema Falls Development. — This development, designed 
and constructed by the staff of the Hydro-Electric Power Com- 
mission of Ontario, was completed for an initial installation of 
4,800 horse power in 1915, and is of special interest as operating 




under a head of 550 feet, one of the highest in Canada. It is 
situated on the Beaver Kiver, about 8 miles from Flesherton, 
the latter being on the Toronto-Owen Sound branch of the 
Canadian Pacific Eailway. A storage area of 1,600 acres with 
a capacity of 750 million cubic feet, is created by two dams, one 
of concrete and the other of earth with a puddle core fill, and 
riprapped on the upstream side. The drainage area above the 
development is about 76 square miles. From the storage 
reservoir, water is conveyed successively by a hydraulic canal 
5,000 feet long to the head works, thence by a 46-inch wood 
stave pipe 3,350 feet long to a head-block and from the latter 
liy a 52-inch steel penstock, 1,560 feet long, to the power house. 

A differential surge tank is instalhid at the junction of the wood 
stave and steel pipes. The power house substructure is of con- 
crete, reinforced where necessary, and the superstructure of 
brick. The ultimate capacity of the development will be 1'2,800 | 

h.p., for which the present pipe line will be duplicated. The j 

present turbine capacity is 8,800 h.p., the first two units being I 

of 2,400 h.p., and the third, installed in 1918, of 4,000 h.p., the 1 

latter unit being fed from a cross-over, ultimately to be con- | 

nected to the second penstock, from the present penstock. The 
2,400 h.p. units are each direct (ionnected to a 1,410 K.V.A., 

3 phase, 60 cycle generator and the 4,000 h.p. unit to a 2,810 
K.V.A., 3 phase, 60 cycle generator, each provided with a 125 
volt direct connected exciter. The turbines are regulated by 
oil pressure governors and are provided with relief valves. 
Transmission lines radiate from the power house to Owen Sound, : 

Orangeville and Chester. The total length of these lines is 176 | 

miles, of which 47 miles are at 4,000 volts and the remainder j 

at 22,000 volts, the whole comprising the Eugenia System, 
which is interconnected with the WasdelFs Falls and Severn, 
and may later also be connected with the Niagara System. 


176 ' 




Nipigon River Development . — This development is under 
construction by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission on 
the Nipigon Eiver at Cameron Falls, and situated about 
15 miles north of Nipigon Village, the latter being ou 
the Canadian Pacific Eailway. The Nipigon Eiver, flow- 
ing out of Lake Nipigon, which has an area of 1,530 square 
miles, has a drainage area above the development of 9,100 square 
miles. The development will include a gravity dam having 
five sluiceways, a headrace 365 feet long, leading directly from 
tlie river to the power house, and a tailrace about 1,000 feet 
long. The latter will parallel the river at its lower end and 
will be separated therefrom by a rock-filled crib. The head- 
works and power house substructure will form a single concrete 
structure, reinforced with steel where necessary. The head- 
gates will be arranged in groups of three per unit, the centre 
gate being of the rolling type and the outer gates of the slid- 
ing type. In their operation the rolling gate will be raised 
first, thus relieving the sliding gates of water pressure. Each 
group of gates will control the openings of a three-way pen- 
stock culminating in a one-way entrance to the turbine scroll 
cases. The penstocks, scroll cases and draft tubes will be 
moulded in concrete. The power house superstructure will 
also be of concrete. The ultimate development will comprise 
six units. The turbines will be of the vertical shaft, single 
runner type, developing 12,500 h.p. each, under a head of 72 
feet, and will be regulated by hydraulic governors. They will 
be direct connected to 10,600 K.V.A., 3 phase, 60 cycle, genera- 
tors, each having an individual exciter. Two units will be 
installed initially and the remaining four in line with future 
power demands. The ultimate capacity will be 75,000 h.p. 

Energy will be transmitted to the Port Arthur System at 

110,000 volts. 






Nipissing Development. — This development, situated on 
the South River, near the village^ of Nipissing, and formerly 
owned by the Electric Power Co. (Central Ontario), utilizes 
a mean flow of 225 cubic feel per second, the drainage 
area of the river being about 300 square miles. From 
a concrete stop-log diversion dam, a hydraulic canal 900 
feet long ends in a headworks and creates a pondage 
reservoir of 100 acres. From the headworks a wood stave 
pipe 2,300 feet long and 6 feet diameter, with an exten- 
sion of a short run of steel penstock to the power house, con- 
veys water to two turbines, each of 800 h.p. These are of the 
single runner double discharge type with scroll casings, and are 
direct connected to 450 K.\Y., 3 pliase, 60 cycle generators, the 
latter each having a 125 K.W., 125 volt, direct connected 
exciter. A 37.5 K.W., 125 volt motor driven exciter is also 
provided. Regulation is obtained by hydraulic governors. The 
total capacity of the plan is 1,600 h.p., to be ultimately in- 
creased to 2,800 h.p. The power house substructure is of con- 
crete and the superstructure of brick. A differential surge 
tank is installed at the junction of the wood stave and steel 
pipe line. Twenty miles of 22,000 volt transmission line con- 
vey energy from the power house to North Bay with a four- 
mile tap to Powassan, and 2.5 miles of 2,200 volt line supply 
Nipissing Village. 


South Falls Development. — This development is situated 
about seven miles from the town of Gravenhurst, on the south 
branch of the Muskoka River, the latter having a drainage area 
of 677 square miles above the development. The plant was 
formerly owned by the Municipality of Gravenhurst, and built 



in 1909. It was taken over by the Hydro-Electric Power Com- 
mission in 1915, by whom it was remodelled and enlarged. It 
includes a concrete stop-log type dam, 80 feet long and 20 feet 
high, having three sluiceways and a log slide. Two penstocks 
extend from the headworks, which are at the south end of, but 
separate from, the dam, to the power house. The power house 
has a concrete substructure and a brick superstructure. The 
penstocks are about 1,000 feet long, one being of wood stave, 
60 inches diameter, and the other of steel 36 inches diamekr. 
Provision is made at the lower end of the former for the in- 
stallation of a future surge tank. The ultimate capacity of 
the plant will be 6,000 h.p. The present capacity is 1,750 h.p. 
under a head of 102 feet, developed by two units, one of 750 
h.p., having a turbine of the horizontal, double-runner, double- 
discharge type in cylindrical casing, and direct connected to a 
\ 450 K.V.A., 3 phase, 60 cycle generator, and the other 1,000 

! h.p., of which the turbine is a horizontal single-runner single 

|! discharge type in cylindrical core casing, direct connected to 

a 750 K.Y.A., 3 phase, 60 cycle generator. Three exciters are 
installed, respectively turbine, motor and belt-driven. Regu- 
lation is provided by one mechanical and one oil pressure 
governor. Energy is transmitted from the power house over 
seven miles of 6,600 volt line to Gravenhurst, and over 26 mdes 
of 22,000 volt line to Huntsville. 


High Falls Development— This development is under con- 
struction by the Hydro-Electric Power Commissmn on the 
Mississippi River, about half a mile above Dalhousie Lake. A 
drainage area of 450 square miles and storage facilities in the 
lakes above afford a mean flow of about 280 cubic feet per second. 
From a concrete gravity dam having four stop-log sluiceways, 



water will be conveyed through a hydraulic canal about 250 
feet long to a headworks and from thence by a wood stave pipe 
10 feet in diameter and 320 feet long to a power house built 
entirely of concrete, in which will be installed three 1,200 h.p. 
units. The turbines will be of the horizontal, double-runner, 
double discharge cylindrical casing type. Of these, one will 
be direct-connected to a 875 K.V.A. generator and the other 
two each to two 350 K.V.A. generators. Three belt-driven 25 
K.W. exciters will be installed and regulation will be provided 
by one mechanical and two oil pressure governors. The total 
capacity of the plant will be 3,600 h.p. under a head of 85 feet. 
Energy will be transmitted to the Eideau System at 26,400 volts. 


The system now known as the Central Ontario System was 
purchased in 1916 by the Province of Ontario direct and after- 
wards transferred to the Commission to operate. It was 
originated by a private corporation known as the Electric 
Power Co., Ltd., whose promoters in the course of a few years 
reached out not only for all the power rights it could acquire 
along the Trent Eiver Valley and Trent Canal — including the 
power sites at Healey Palis, the power dam at Peterboro, 
formerly controlled by the Auburn Woolen Co. (Auburn De- 
velopment), Penelon Falls, Trenton, Campbellford, and Prank- 
ford, but a development on the South Eiver quite separated 
geographically from the Trent System. It also had rights to 
over a dozen power sites of larger or smaller capacity not as 
yet developed ; and at the time of the purchase by the province 
the company had acquired by lease or purchase over thirty 
utility services in its territory, including gas works, water 
works and a street railway system at Peterboro. For operating 
purposes all these services were transferred to the Commission 
when the power sites were taken over. 



Eealeij Falls Development— This development is situated 
at dam No. 13 of the Trent Valley Canal, and about six miles 
above Campbellford. The drainage area of the river above the 
plant is 3,515 square miles. In common with the other powers 
of the Central Ontario System, this plant enjoys a very regular 
river flow owing to the great natural storage obtaining through- 
out the watershed, the levels of the larger lakes of which are 
controlled by the Department of Eailways and Canals. The 
development includes a short headrace 250 feet long, leading 
from the Trent Canal to a concrete gatehouse from which three 
steel penstocks 12 feet diameter and 450 feet long lead to the 
power house. The substructure of the latter is of concrete 
and the superstructure of brick. The building houbcs 
units, developing a total capacity of 16,800 h.p. under a head 
of 76 feet. The turbines are of the double-runner, centre is- 
charge, horizontal type in cylindrical casings, each of 5,600 h.p. 
and direct connected to three 3,750 K.V.A., 3 phase, 60 cycle 
generators. Two 160 K.W., 125 volt exciter, one turbine and 
one motor driven, are provided. Eegulation is provided by oi 
pressure governors. Energy is transmitted to the Centra 
Ontario System at 44,000 volts, the transmission mileage ot 
this system including 372 miles of 44,000 volt line, 15 mi es 
of 11,000 volt line, 16.4 miles of 6,600 volt line and 52 miles 

of 4,000 volt line. 

Auburn Development-Just north of Peterborough, this 
development is situated on the Otonabee Eiver at Dam No. 18 
of the Trent Valley Canal System. It includes an easterly 
extension of the dam forming a four sluiceway intake, admit- 
ting water to a headrace 1,200 feet long and 150 feet wide, a 
series of open flumes, power house, tailrace and separate trans- 
former house. A retaining wall, partly of concrete and partly 
of earth fill, divides the headrace from the Otonabee Eiver. 
At the end of the headrace a spillway and icenm is provided to 




discharge into the river. Water from the headrace is conveyed 
directly into five open flumes in which are installed three main 
turbines and one exciter turbine. The former are of the quad- 
ruple, double-discharge, horizontal type, of 950 h.p. and direct 
connected to 625 K.V.A., 3 phase, 60 cycle generators. .The 
latter is direct connected to a 90 K.W. 125 volt exciter. A 
second exciter, motor driven, of the same capacity, is installed. 
Begulation is maintained by automatic hydraulic governors. 
The total capacity of the plan is 2,850 h.p. under a head of 18 
feet. A travelling emergency gate enables any individual tur- 
bine to be shut down. A tailrace, enclosed by a part concrete 
wall and part cribwork, discharges directly into the Otonabee 
River. The power house substructure is of concrete. The 
superstructure of both power and transformer houses is of brick. 
From the latter energy is transmitted to the Central Ontario 
System at 44,000, 2,400 and 6,600 volts. 

Fenelon Falls Development. — This development is situated 
at Dam No. 30 of the Trent Valley Canal System. One end 
of the dam forms a three sluiceway intake for a forebay 200 
feet long, leading to the power house, where two turbines, each 
of 700 h.p. capacity under a 24-foot head, are direct connected 
to 400 K.W., 3 phase, 60 cycle generators. One turbine driven 
exciter is installed and regulation is provided by mechanical 
governors. The development will be reconstructed in the future, 
when the load demands of the system demand the additional 

power. The electrical output feeds into the 44,000 volt Central 
Ontario System. 

Trenton Development.~Th.h development is situated at 
Dam No. 2 of the Trent Valley Canal System, about five miles 
below the Frankford development. The power house is built 
at the east end of the dam. An intake extending in line with 
the river bank and at right angles to the east end of the dam 
conducts water to a forebay, which in outline forms the quad- 



rant of a circle. From the forebay water is conveyed directly 
into wheel pits forming part of the power house substructure, 
in which four 1,400 h.p. turbines of the double-runner, single 
discharge, vertical shaft type, are placed. These are direct con- 
nected to 937 K.V.A., 3 phase, 60 cycle generators. The total 
capacity of the plant is 5,600 h.p. under a head of 20 feet. 
The generators are served by two 75 K.W., 125 volt, exciters, 
one motor and one turbine driven, the turbine for the latter 
being installed in the remaining wheel pit. The turbines aie 
regulated by oil pressure governors. The power house sub- 
structure is of concrete, and the superstructure of brick. A 
stony gate, operated by a travelling gantry, controls the wheel 
pit openings. Tail water discharges directly into the Trent 
River. The transformer station, with a brick superstructure, 
is situated east of the power house, the Frankford Road run- 
ning between the two buildings. The transformer station 
receives the 6,600 volt output from the Frankford development 
and transmits this and the output of the Trenton development 
to the Central Ontario System at 44,000 volts. 

Camphellford Development.— ^ix miles below Healy Falls, 
this development is situated at Dam. No. 1 of the Trent Valley 
Canal System. A five sluiceway extension of the dam forms 
the intake of a headrace about 1,000 feet long and 150 feet 
wide, from which water is conveyed directly to the wheelpits 
of five turbines of the double-runner, single-discharge vertical 
type, each having a capacity of 1,000 h.p. A total capacity 
of 5,000 h.p. is developed under a head of 23 feet. The tur- 
bines are each direct connected to a 750 K.V.A., 3 phase, 60 
cycle generator. Excitation for the generators is provided by 
two 60 K.W., 125 volt exciters, one being turbine and the other 
motor driven. Two 17.5 K.W. belted exciters are also installed 
as spares. Regulation for the turbines is provided by oil pres- 
sure governors. A sixth opening in the power house siibstruc- 



ture forms an icerun. The power house substructure is of con- 
crete and the superstructure of stone. Tail water from the 
plant discharges directly into the Trent Kiver. Energy is 
transmitted at 44,000 volts to the Central Ontario System. 

Franhford Development . — This development is situated at 
Dam No. 6 of the Trent Valley Canal System. A three sluice- 
way intake at the east end of the dam conveys water to a short 
forebay which, in turn, empties into five wheelpits forming 
part of the power house substructure. In each of four of the 
wheelpits a 1,200 h.p. turbine is installed, of the double-run- 
ner, simple-discharge vertical type, direct connected to a 812.5 
K.V.A., 3 phase, 60 cycle generator. In the fifth wheclpit an 
exciter turbine with vertical shaJ't is installed, driving a 85 
K.W., 125 volt exciter. A second exciter is motor driven. The 
total capacity of the turbines is 4,800 h.p. under a head of 18 
feet. Turbine regulation is obtained by automatic hydraulic 
governors. A spillway icerun is provided in a concrete wall 
separating the forebay from the Trent Eiver. The power house 
substructure is of concrete and the superstructure of brick. A 
stony gate, operated by a travelling gantry, controls the open- 
ings to the wheelpits. A tailrace, 500 feet long, runs parallel 
with and is isolated from the river by a rock-filled crib faced 
with concrete on the river side and with timber on the tailrace 
side. Energy is transmitted to the transformer station of the 
Trenton development, about five miles south, at 6,600 volts, 
for distribution to the Central Ontario System. 




Other Provincial Power Commissions. 

The progress of the Power Commission of Ontario has beeji 
watched with keen interest in the other provinces of Canada, 
and Power Commissions have already been created in Manitoba, 
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, while Prince Edward Island, 
though it possesses only small power sites, is included in the 
co-operative surveys of the two other Maritime Provinces now 
in progress. 


In Manitoba an Act was passed in 1919 to provide for the 
transmission of electrical power under Government control, 
and this Act was amended in 1920. Executive powers are con- 
ferred on a single Commissioner, responsible to the Minister 
of Public Works. Under the Act any municipality, rural or 
urban, may, by resolution of Council, apply to the Minister for 
the supply of power for any purpose, the application being 
accompanied by statements showing the assessments, debts, rate 
of taxation, etc., and amount of power required. The Minister 
thereupon investigates the cost of the power and the financial 
position of the municipality, and if favorable to the proposition, 
gives an estimate of the cost of the transmission lines and the 
estimated price of the power, which shall cover fixed charges, 
maintenance, and replacement. Before a contract is made it 
must have the assent of the electors, by by-law passed by the 
municipality; and any loan raised by debenture must also have 
the endorsement of the electors and the approval of the 
Minister, as in the case of other loans raised for municipal 
purposes. The municipality shall appoint a superintendent to 



carry on the work, and Ik; shall keep such records and account- 
ing as may be prescribed by the Minister. In case of default, 
or threatened default, by the municipality, the Minister may 
appoint a receiver, and upon publication of official notice, dis- 
miss the superintendent. In such cases the receiver appointed 
is directly responsible to the Minister, and all receipts and 
assets are at the disposal of the Minister or the Crown. The 
Minister may take the initiative for supplying power to any 
municipality which has not made application ; or he may 
acquire an existing plant by purchase or lease, such plant to 
be carried on as a work under the Public Works Act, and the 
Minister having power to make contracts with individuals and 
charge such rates as may cover fixed charges, maintenance and 
replacement. The Minister has powers of expropriation, and 
without the consent of the Attorney-General no action may 
be brought against the Commission '*or any of its Ministers 
for anything done or omitted in the exercise of its office,” nor 
shall any liability be incurred by reason of error in estimates 
or plans furnished. The Commissioner is appointed by the 
Lieutenant-Governor in Council and holds office at the pleasure 
of the Minister. 

The expenditures in Manitoba under this Act are now 
limited to a million dollars. Up to the present no water 
powers have been acquired by the Commission; but a contract 
has been made for a supply of power from the City of Winnipeg 
Hydro-Electric Power Plant, at a price to the Commission of 
one-half cent per kilowatt hour. This would average about 
$16.50 per h.p. per year with a load factor of 50 per cent. As 
urban requirements average 60 to 70 per cent., this would make 
the average cost to towns and villages $20.00 or less per 
h.p. per year. The cost to the municipalities will be this 
amount plus line losses, costs for operation and overhead 





The first application received by the Manitoba Power Com- 
mission was for power for Portage la Prairie, sixty miles west 
of Winnipeg. To this point a line has been built, having suffi- 
cient capacity to redistribute power to surrounding towns and 
lairal municipalities, from a number of which applications have 
already been received. 

The Commission is investigating the possibility of establish- 
ing fuel plants at various central stations, and as a beginning 
preparations are now under way for oil-burning plants at 
Virden and Minnedosa, and some preliminary studies have been 
made as to the economic possibilities of a water-power develop- 
ment at Stockton, on the Assiniboine Eiver, wdiere 1,000 h.p. 
may be developed. 

New Bkunswick. 

By an Order in (‘ouncil pass-ed in 1918, the “ Water Power 
Commission of the Province of New Brunswick ” was estab- 
lished, and this Commission, consisting of three members, C. 0. 
Foss (Chairman), B. M. Hill, and W. E. McMullen (Secre- 
tary), made its first report in February, 1920. The Water 
Power Branch of the Department of the Interior at Ottawa had 
offered its help to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in making 
a general survey of power sites, and, under this plan of co- 
operation, stream measurements have been going on. In 1919 
Prince Edward Island joined the other two provinces in the 
investigations. The provinces and the federal department give 
one another the benefit of the information which each collects. 
The Commission is proceeding cautiously, the initial costs of 
development being an apparent difficulty, but competent 
engineers assure the Commissioners that there are several im- 
portant sites, the available power of which will be marketed 
before the plants can be finished. 

33 3 87 




To be orgauized to I'lirnisli tlie people with power under 
public ownership the “ New Brunswick Electric Power Act ” 
w*as passed by the Legislature at the session of 1920. This Act 
constitutes a Commission whose operation follows closely the 
lines of the Ontario Commission. The Commission will have 
wide powers, and the whole purpose of the Act is to facilitate 
the development of the unused water powers. Where they are 
now under private ownership, if tlie oAvners cannot, or will not, 
develop them, then the Commission may use its almost un- 
limited powers to purchase existing powers or expropriate the 
land, etc., and proceed to utilize pOAver. 

The Commissioners hold office during the pleasure of the 
Lieutenant-GoA^ernor in Council, Avhich authority also nominates 
the Cliairman, and fixes tlie salaries of the members. The 
Chief Engineer or other officer may be a member of the Com- 
mission. The Commission fixes the salaries and has control 
of its officers, subject to ratification of the Lieutenant-GoAernor 
in Council. The Commission is not limited to the use of water 
as a source of power, but may use coal, peat, gas or oil. It may, 
Avithout the consent of the OAvmer, enter upon and take lands 
on which a Avater power is situahid; or may acquire a control- 
ling interest in any corporation supplying electrical poAver, or 
may expropriate buildings or other property to carry out its 
work. The methods of expropriation and arbitration are set 
forth in the Act. If an OAvner do(;s not agree with the Commis- 
sion's offer as to value the matter is referred to the Countv 
Judge as arbitrator. On any dispute as to fact an appeal may 
be made to the Appeal Division of the Supreme Court, but no 
appeal is allowed beyond this hearing. Eeceipts and expendi- 
tures of the Commission are made through the Provincial Secre- 
tary-Treasurer, AA'ho will keep a special account for this pur- 
pose. An annual report Avill be made showing the operations 
of each system controlled by the Commission. The Lieutenant- 




Governor in Council may raise, for the purposes of the Com- 
mission, sums necessary not exceeding a total of one million 
dollars. Section 25 provides that “ without the consent of the 
Attorney-General no action shall be brought agaijist the Com- 
mission, or any member thereof for anything done or omitted j 

in the exercise of his office,” and neither the province nor Com- 
mission is liable for any errors in estimates, plans or specifica- 
tions. Municipalities, rural or urban, may contract Avith the 
Commission for poAver : but such contract becomes binding by 
vote or resolution of the Council and does not require to be 
endorsed by vote of the electors, as in Ontario. One contract- 
ing municipality may supply a municipality Avhich has no 
contract with the Commission, but not Avithout the consent of 
the Council thereof. A municipality may carry on its work 
under the Provincial Commission either bv a local Commission 


or by a manager. The price of poAver taken by the municipali- 
ties may be regulated and changed by the Commission, and the 
Commission does not appear to be limited to supplying power 
at cost. 

The New Brunswick Commission has uoav been re-organized, 
the members being Hon. C. W. Eobinson, of Moncton, Chair- 
man; Mr. C. 0. Foss, C.E., of St. John, and Mr. Eeid Mc- 
Manus, of Moncton. Mr. W. E. McMullen remains the Secre- 

Nova Scotia. 

Nova Scotia was the first of the Maritime Provinces to under- 
take a survey of water powers on the co-operative plan already 
indicated. A NoA'a Scotia Water Power Commission ’* was 
authorized in 1914, and made its first report in the folloAA'ing 
year. Four annual reports have been issued, the work of the 
Commission being confined to collecting data on the floAv of 
streams, and the poAver possibilities of the A’arious rivers. As 



stated ill the hrst report of 1915, “ the activities of the Hydi-o- 

Electric Power Commission of Ontario, as well as those of 
private concerns in other parts of the country, did not go un- 
noticed in Xova Scotia,” and the Commission began to con- 
sider the problem of classifying the rivers for power and navi- 
gation purposes; and to frame rules for the expropriation of 
land and of riparian rights in order to establish power plants; 

and to reconcile the interests of agriculture, forest preserva- 
tion and the industries with respect to the rights of property. 
These questions would arise very frequently here, because in 
time past more small wuter powers were used to operate saw 
mills, flour mills and carding mills in Nova Scotia than in 
any other part of Canada. It is said that the first mill on 
the continent to be driven by water was built by one of the 
Acadian French settlers as early as 1607, the ruins of this mill, 
at the mouth of the Lequille, being yet visible. 

By an ‘^\ct respecting Water and Water-courses,” passed 
in 1919, it was declared that notwithstanding any previous law 
or any grant or deed, all water and water-courses were hence- 
forth vested in the Crown in the right of the province. How- 
ever, where a person within two years of the passing of the 
Act establishes that he was lawfully using a water-course, he 
may be entitled to continue the use on terms deemed just by 

the Governor in Council. 

In the same vear an Act was passed constituting the “ Nova 
Scotia Power Commission/^ composed of three members, which 
not only took over most of the work of the investigating Com- 
mission referred to, but has power to construct and operate 
power developments on a large scale. The new Commission is 
modeled after that of Ontario. It consists of three members, 
the Chairman being the Honourable E. H. Armstrong (Com- 
missioner of Public Works and Mines) ; Frank C. Whitman, 
of Annapolis, and Bobert H. MacKay, of New Glasgow. K. H. 



Smith, who had been Chief Engineer of the first Commission, 
becomes Chief Engineer and Secretary of the new' Commission, 
while continuing to act for the Department of the Interior. 
Mr. Smith, in his reports, expresses his conviction that the 
foundations for water power development in Nova Scotia could 
not have been so well laid but for the co-operation of the federal 
and provincial departments. 

The working relations betw'een this Commission and the 
municipalities are much the same as in the case of New Bruns- 
wick, except that more authority, financial and executive, seems 
to lie conferred on the Commission in Nova Scotia. A muni- 
cipality may enter into a pow'er contract wfith the commission 
without a special vote of the electors. An interesting provision 
is, that where a group of municipalities w'ish to become jointly 
responsible for a new power plant they may form a group and 
operate the plant as a “System.” As is done in the other prov- 
inces, the Commission protects itself from vexatious legal actions 

liy taking power to refuse a fiat. 

This Commission has commenced its first power develop- 
ment at St. Margaret’s Bay near Halifax and plans are Wing 
made for another in the Sheet Harbor District, 1 ictou Count\ . 
Applications for power have also been made from other parts 
of the province and the Commission is actively investigating 
power sites in Lunenburg, Annapolis and Digby Counties. 



The writer has endeavoured to spare the reader from digest- 
ing masses of statistics, hut for the satisfaction of the student 
of the economic aspects of this history, a few figures summar- 
izing the results to the end of 1919 will he instructive. 

The plant owned by the Commission itself, and through 
which it serves all the municipalities with power and light, 
represents a cash value of $56,923,000. This includes the value of 
the Ontario Power Co.’s works, now owned by the Commission. 
The plant owned by the constituent municipalities under the 
Commission is valued at $24,298,870, making a total of 
$81,221,870. The administration offices and the buildings for 
the various services described on other pages are worth in round 
figures $1,000,000, hut would cost over $1,500,000 to replace 
under present conditions. The total cost of the Niagara power 
development, including construction rekited thereto, is $15,000,- 
000. To the above fixed assets will be added the value of 
material and supplies amounting to $2,851,600 ; securities, 
interest bearing investments, sinking fund deposits, accounts 
receivable, and miscellaneous assets, with cash in the banks and 
on hand totalling about $6,500,000, and making an aggregate, 
in round numbers, of $106,600,000. 

On the other side of the account there are current liabilities 
such as bills payable, etc., of $1,910,500; cash advanced from 
time to time by the Provincial Treasurer, $48,236,001; by the 
bank, $1,200,000; bonds and debentures of the Commission, 
$22,389,201 ; and bonds and debentures of the municipalities, 
$18,133,462. To these are added the reserves, sinking fund 
debenture payments, $3,781,642; renewals and contingencies, 
$7,769,248. Allowing an ample amount for insurance reserves 
and doubtful accounts, there remains an unincumbered surplus 
of more than $2,900,000 to the credit of the Commission at 

the end of 1919. 




The following are some of the sources of information used 
in the preparation of this work : — 

Annual reports and special reports and bulletins of the 
Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario; including re- 
port by Ross & Holgate, known as the Ontario Power Commis- 

Annual reports of the Toronto Hydro-Electric System. 

Various reports, by-laws and correspondence of the City of 

Water Powers of Canada; by Leo. G. Denis, and Arthur 
\h White, Commission of Conservation, 1911. 

Annual reports of Commission of Conservation, Ott-awa. 

Reports of Ontario Bureau of Mines, and other reports to 
Ontario Government. 

Reports and bulletins. Department of Mines, Ottawa. 

Annual Reports, Queen Victoria Niagara Falls Park Com- 
missioners, containing text of agreements with power companies. 

Falls of Niagara ; by J. W. W. Spencer ; Geological Survey 
of Canada. I 

Niagara Power, past, present and prospective : address to 
Canadian Club, by Hon. Frederic Nicholls. 

Thos. C. Keefer, C.E., papers and addresses of. 

Municipal Trading and Municipal Ownership or operation 
of Public Utilities: by Avern Pardoe, printed for the Legisla- 
tive Assembly, Toronto, 1903. 

Reports of Union of Canadian Municipalities. 

Electric Generation and Distribution in Canada : by Leo 
G. Denis, Com. of Conservation, Ottawa, 1918. 


Central Electric Stations in Canada : by J. T. Johnston, 
C.E., Dept, of Interior, Ottawa, 1919. 

Long Sauit Eapids, St. Lawrence Kiver: by Arthur V. 
White, Com. of Conservation, Ottawa, 1913. 

Water Powers of Ontario: by H. G. Acres, Hydraulic En- 
gineer, Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario. 

Electric Power Generation in Ontario: article, Jan. 1919, 
Proceedings Am. Inst, of Electrical Engineers: by Arthur H. 
Hull, Electrical Engineer, Hydro-Electric Power Commission 
of Ontario. 

Energy Resources of the U.S. : by Chester G. Gilbert and 
Joseph E. Pogue, Washington, 1919. 

Report of Joint Committee of State Legislature to investi- 
gate the diversion of the waters of the Niagara River for power 
purposes: Albany, 1918. 

Committee on Water Power, House of Representatives: 
statement of Sir Adam Beck, Washington, 1918. 

Coal Fields of the United States: by Marius R. Campbell; 
Dept, of the Interior, Washington, 1917. 

Montreal, Ottawa and Georgian Bay Canal Co., prospectus. 

Georgian Bay Ship Canal; Dej)t. of Public Works, 1909, 
and report of Committee of Senate on same, Ottawa, 1898. 

Electric Power Development in U.S. ; Secretary of Agricul- 
ture, Washington, 1916. 

Hydro-Electric Power in Canada : by Cecil B. Smith, C.E., 
with discussions; transactions of Am. Soc. Civil Engineers, 
N.Y., 1909. 

Conservation of Water Powers of Canada: address by Sir 
Adam Beck, at first annual meeting of Commission of Con- 
servation, Ottawa, 1910. 

Preservation of Niagara Falls: House of Representatives 

Document No. 24r6, Washington, 1911. 





Water Powers of Canada (Water Resources Paper No. 16), 
Vv'ater Power Branch, Department of the Interior (J. 1>. 

Challies, Director), Ottawa, 1916. 

Niagara Falls Electrical Handbook; published under 

auspices Am. Inst, of Electrical Engineers, 1904. 

Annual reports, London & Port Stanley Ry.j 1916-19. 
Origin of Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Movement: 

Kitchener Light C'ommission, Kitchener, Out. 

Reports of Hydro-Electric Railway Association of Ontario, 

T. J. Hannigan, Sec.. Guelph, Ont. 



Aluminum Company and St. Lawrence Power 134 

Auburn power development 1°1 

Beck, Sir Adam, at first power conference _• 

“ “ " elected chairman power commission -jl, 

“ “ policy of power distribution 

“ “ “ introduces electric railway act 

“ “ “ on electric power on farms 

“ “ “ biographical notice of 

“ “ “ (see also Hydro-Electric Power Commission.) 


Big chute development 

Board of Trade, Toronto, report on Niagara power 

Buffalo and Niagara Falls power conditions IHb 1-d, 

Burton Act stops private exploitation at Niagara 











California powers, private ownership of 24 

Campbellford development • 1®^ 

Canadian Deep Waterways & Power Association 14- 

Canadian Niagara Power Co 34 

Carmichael, Hon. Col. 

Central Ontario System 1°® 

Chippawa plant — See Queenston — Chippawa. 

Coal areas of Canada 1^> 

“ consumption of 22, L.) 

“ United States’ restrictions of 22 

“ famine of 1902, and prices of 27 

Commissions, power, local, for cities 



OO 2.") 

Dominion Power and Transmission Co 45, 58 

Dynamos, development of '32 

Electric power in great war 11® 

“ “ first uses in Canada 31 

“ “ developments in Canada 10®> m 



Electric paTvcr devdopmenta in United States 

“ on the farm 

“ “ for Canadian railways 

“ “ on London & Port Stanley Railway .... 

“ “ ■ equivalents in coal consumption 

Electrical Development Co. 

“ railway (See Railway.) 

“ Railway Act of Ontario, Summary of 

‘ railways, provincial commission on 

“ railways, era of 

Electrification of steam railways _ • 

Electro-chemical and metallurgical industries at Niagara 

Ellis, P. W., letter of, to Sir Adam Beck 

“ ■ “ “ Commissioner of Toronto System 

Eugenia Falls System 


23, 102, 109 


103, 105, 109 

36, 70, 126 




. . 103, 109 






10T 13^ 

Farms, electric power on the ’ 

Fenelon Falls development 

Financial summary ' “ 

Fire risks. Commission’s protection against 

Frankf ord development •. 4 - 

_ * 7 » A 1 J» Y»QTtlfr«TinTl - . l^.J 

Fulton, Robert, claim to perpetual franchise on river navigation.. 14o 





Hamilton, Situation at 

Healey Falls development • • ■ ' 

High Falls development • • • ‘ 

Hydro-Electric resources, Canada and 

influence on population 

growth in demand for 56 

a community right • 

power of St. Lawrence 13o 

Hvdro-Eloctric Power Commission, beginning of power distribution. 20 

■ “ and Ontario industries ^31 

and self government 26 

and London & Port Stanley Ry. 106 
area of power transmission .... 40 

gemisis of 

farms, power on 127 

first Provincial Act 48 

Sir Adam Beck, Chairman .... 51 

Elec. Ry. Act and amendments 115 

first report of 52, 53 

estimates of power demands ... 54 

constitution, working of ...... 71 

first power survey of Ontario. . 52 

generating plants . . 76, 156 to 162 
purchase of Niagara power 56 















t i 

t f 



i t 

















».Bpia|||il || \ JgiMV I '. i 



Power Con^esio., : S 

.. « “ Constitution of 

.. .. •< “ summary of Power Act • • od 

.. ‘ “ amendments to Act 

.. “ power systems of 

„ .. •< “ aid to municipal organization. . 

.. .. •< “ monthly Bulletin 

.. .. ‘ “ finances of pioneer municipalities lot 

Ontario Power Co., purchase of 
power from /••.••• 

.. .. •• “ purchase of lines on Detroit river lUo 

.. .. - “ law suits, protection from 143 

laboratories and shops 

protection frorn^ fire risks Iw 

.. •» •* power distribution, start of.... ®o 

.. « •< “ review of present operating 

condition ^ 

.. .. •< “ rates, reduction of 77, /9 

.. •• “ staff and appointments 

., “ telephone, private lines 



Insurance, fire. Commission’s inspection system ^ 

Israelitish migration and public ownership 



Joint commission on wateiways 

Keefer, T. C., on waterpowers of Canada 


. „ . . 156 

Laboratories of Commission • ■ _••• •. 

Lake freight rates and control of inland navigation 

London, Results of Hydro service at 

" Sir Adam Beck’s services to 

" and Port Stanley railway 

Lucas, Hon. I. 



Manitoba Power Commission * 

Moore, Thomas, on Niagara Falls 47 ’ *48 63 

Municipal ownership, reports on » » „ 

“ Hydro-Electric Railway Assn *48 63 

power act a’r ’ 44 ' 49 

Municipalities, conference of, on power 

•• relations to Commission 

number under Commission • • 




Municipalities, conference of, on power .43, 44, 49 

“ reductions to, on power and 78, 79 

“ pioneer, balance sheet of 151 

Muskoka Svstcni 


New Brunswick Water Power Commission l‘^7 

Xiagara, discovery of 28 

“ power of 28, 34 

“ “ system of Commission 167 

“ “ developments at 37 

“ “ report of Toronto Board of Trade 40 

“ “ conference on 44 

“ “ monopoly of, on New York side 124 

‘‘ “ water diversions to private companies 70 

“ Treaty on 39, 40 

“ Park, establishment of 29 

“ Falls Park and River Railway 32 

“ “ and Buffalo power situation 119, 123 

“ “ Power Co 31, 33, 122 

Xipigon River development - 177 

Xipissing System 178 

Xova Scotia Power Commission 190 


Ontario and New York power policy compared 119 

Hydraulic powers of 17 

“ Government, petition to, on power 44 

“ “ power survey of Provin^’o 52, 53 

Power Commission 42, 49 

“ Power Co 35 

offer to municipalities 43 

power contract with Commission 83 

“ “ ” purchase of, by Commission 84 

“ “ “ description of plant 170 


Perpetual franchise, theory of 146 

Power, hydraulic, a public right 11 

“ resources of Canada and TJ.S 16 

“ developments of TJ.S. and Canada 23, 25 

“ “ private companies at Niagara 33, 35 

“ allotments at Niagara 39 

“ costs under public and private ownership 54 

“ “ private ownership in California 24 

“ “ “ check at Niagara 82 

“ “ “ and public service compared 80 

“ “ “ rights on St. Lawrence 134 

“ “ Sir Charles Parsons, on 21 



Power Commissions of Manitoba, Now Brunswick, and X. S.. 
Public right to public services 

Queenston-Chippawa power plant 

Railway, successor to highway * 

“ rates are taxes T9 

“ ‘‘competition”, fallacy of PI 

“ Electric Railway Act of Ontario Ho 

“ London & Port Stanley 106 

“ “ system proposed ])v Commission 106 

Railways, electrification of 103, 109 

“ Provincial Commission on 109 

“ electric, era of TOl 

Reciprocity question in new phase T3< 

Rideau System Ti9 

Severn System 

Shops established by Commission 156 

Smith, Cecil B., on waterpowers of Canada 19 , 49 

“ “ “ appointed engineer Power Commission 51, 61 

South Falls development T78 

Spence, F. S., on mnnicipttl jMtwer proposal'^ 42 

St. Lawrence power problem 133 

Temiskaming and X. Ontario Ry 113 

Testing laboratories of Commission 156 

Thunder Bay System 177 

Transmission, long distance, beginning of 31, 33 

Transportation costs a public tax 10 

“ progress of electric power in 109-111 

“ lake freight rates 140 

Toronto Electric Light Co., development of 88-97 

Toronto, power conference at 46 

” struggle for self-government in power service 88 

“ commission and private utility corporations 88-97 

” lighting and ptower rates of 95 

” organization of city Hydro-Electric System 98 

“ Niagara Falls & Buffalo rates compared 119, 121 

Trenton development T82 

Turnpike trusts and private railway companies 12 



Union of Canadian municipalities 


, 38 


Wasdell’s Falls development I75 

Water power leases, terms of 1 H4 

systems under Commission Ig7 

powers, theory of rights to 81 

of Ontario and Dominion I7 

of Northern Ontario 20 21 

suivey of, in Ontario ,o 2 , 7.3 

development of, new ’70 

XX*' *1 _ • • A . . 

AVesteru Provinces and States on transportation and St. Lawrence 

power 139 

AVhituey, Sir James P., on power question 47, 50, 86 

formally turns on power S7 






Hydro-electric developrient in ^ 
Ontario. , , 

/ / ■ j - 

^ . 

ncp VI < •' t' 1 

DEC i 1 laji*) ^ ^ •'-// 


APR 1 7 193f 

h'i .' ^ 

9 JL L ’ ^ 



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